What if in a split second your world was turned upside down and inside out?  What if your hope for tomorrow became your heartache of today?  What if your greatest joy became your overwhelming sorrow?

Last Friday evening a local teen was killed when the ATV he was riding on drove into the path of an oncoming pick-up truck.  Sadly he was not wearing helmet, a fact that I am sure will haunt his parents for the rest of their lives.  By all accounts this was a well-liked, athletic, personable young man; and the tragic nature of his passing has rocked our small community.  While I didn’t know this young man or his family personally, his death has profoundly impacted me as a mother….

As a mother I worry about my kids a good portion of each and every day.  I worry about their happiness, their well-being, their safety, and I worry about the choices that they make and will make in the future.  I try to set a good example for them to follow because it is my hope that when faced with various life situations, they will ultimately make choices that are best for them; choices that will keep them safe, and choices that will keep them out of trouble.  These are all things that I am sure that this young man’s parents did for him; so how did it turn out so terribly wrong?  How in an instant did he forgo safety for whatever it was that he thought was better?  As a mother it terrifies me to think that my best still might not be good enough to keep my kids safe.

As a mother, my heart breaks for this mom who will never get to hold her son again.  My heart breaks for a mom who said goodbye to her son last Friday not knowing that this time it would be forever.  My heart breaks for a mom who had hopes and dreams for her son’s future, a future that now no longer exists.  How does a mother ever move on from the moment that has now changed her life forever?  How does a mother bury the very child she gave life to?  How do these parents pick up the pieces and even begin to heal from their grief?  How does life go on?

When tragedy strikes we are forced to look at our own lives and ask some very tough questions.  Questions that we hope can offer us a mere shred of some sense in the wake of something that makes no sense at all.  We can ask why until we are blue in the face but there will never be any answers that make sense – only this young man knows why he chose what he chose on that fateful night.  I pray to God that in time these parents find some comfort, some peace, and something that gives them hope and meaning to move past this now defining moment in their lives.  I pray that this young man’s death will not have been in vain if reminds other young adults to put their safety first.  I pray that some good will come out of such sorrow and mourning.  And I pray that I will never have to know the pain of burying a child before their time.

When tragedy strikes communities come together, people unite for the common good of humanity, parents hold their kids tighter and we all stop and take pause – long enough to count the blessings we have today because their are no guarantees that they will be there tomorrow.