Maybe it was foreshadowing, the death of the little dog that lived up the road. Seems like he'd always been there in front of the house where he lived, watching from the yard all the many times I'd drive by. Like me he grew old. I guess he got slow, may be deaf. Saturday morning he died under the wheels of a car. Daughter #2 saw it happen and brought the news in with her. Oh how sad we felt.
But life moved forward and we were planning a bonfire. I had just finished the chili and the men had lit the fire when the call came. My granddaughter, Anah's close friend committed suicide. His name was Eli. He was 14. He used a gun.
He was an outstanding student, brilliant even, well liked. But home was not a good place, no parental guidance. He was missing all night and no one looked for him.
My beloved Anah fell to her knees. Her disbelief, her grief and loss engulfed her like a flame. Her first loss. She knew he was troubled, she tried so hard to save him from the darkness. She brought him here to the farm where they ran around exploring in the way of kids. She hugged him every day at school. Oh course it wasn't enough and her feelings of failure pierced my heart.
Today will be the first day back to school. The freshman class is wearing red bandanas in Eli's memory. It was his trademark. Today will be hard. Though I know Anah must go through this, I weep for her pain and for the pain of his other friends, kids forever changed by this event. Children no more, thrust into a maelstrom of feelings an adult would find hard to handle.
What kind of world do we live in where a 14 year child can find no Hope?
Goodbye Eli, may you be at peace.