Sometimes news hangs more heavily on you than other times. Like when I heard that a former kindergarten classmate had been killed by lightning while on a family camping trip. I hadn't seen him in years, but it was sad to me that he would never go to university, have a family, or fulfill more of his amazing potential. Why did it have to happen? Why was a life cut short?
That's how I felt on Tuesday when I heard the news that Tim Bosma's charred remains had been found. A sinking feeling of hope dashed. I didn't really know him. He was a grade school classmate, but he went to another high school and I hadn't heard he had gotten engaged, or married, or that he had a daughter or anything about his life since grade school. When I saw his name in the news after he went missing, at first his name didn't even register as someone I knew. I followed the story, I watched the media briefings, I posted the missing poster on my Facebook wall, I prayed he would be returned to his family. I believed that God could perform a miracle, but then on Tuesday morning I heard the worst. I didn't cry, but my heart cried out that it was senseless and that it was wrong. Why was a man stolen from his family? Why would his wife never see his face again, his daughter grow up without him?
Today the tears came while I watched a tribute to Tim. No I didn't know him, I didn't know the person he had become, but my heart grieved... I listened to CBC radio and heard his wife's emotional words as I was driving to meet a friend and tears again blurred my vision. I couldn't imagine the grief his wife, family, and friends were feeling. I don't know what it is like to lose a husband, a father, or a son, let alone in such a tragic manner. I have never had a comparable worst day of my life, a day that will change all the days to follow so irrevocably.
I can only pray that the God of all comfort will comfort them, that he will carry them through, and that somehow good will come out of unspeakable evil. I know it will be a difficult road ahead for a long time, and the wound will always be there. I know it is nothing that platitudes can soothe and I don't know why it had to happen. I can pray they can come to a place of forgiveness and I can pray for justice for Tim. I can pray they will be able to fully grieve this loss, this essential part of them that is gone. I can thank God that their faith is strong, that they have a supportive community surrounding them. Still the questions remain.
Years after the death of my classmate who had been struck by lightning, I stood in a ski chalet built in his memory and read about his short but brilliant life. I smiled as my mom snapped a picture. And I remembered.