We all know that death is part of life. It is undeniable. We can pretend differently, but then something happens to remind us of the truth. How do you handle the death of a teenager anyway? It is foreign territory to have to even consider. We are not guaranteed tomorrow, but in our minds, teenagers are. They are on horizon of life dawning. Unlimited potential awaits them. So when one is killed in a car accident like Chelsea was last night, our hearts ache and groan. As parents, we hug our own kids a bit tighter, because we know that it could have been us receiving that call. We pray for the family, knowing that their lives are forever changed on this day.
And how, do you comfort grieving teenagers? For many of them it is their first experience seeing young death up close…close enough to make them realize it could have been them. Hard reality. Life is shorter than we think. You never know what tomorrow holds. All the clichés are suddenly no longer clichés, but factual statements that make sense. Questions about God and the meaning of life loom large, while exams and studying fade into the background. The illusion that we are in control of our lives is exposed for the lie that it is. We are left with our foundation, whatever that happens to be. Each deals in his/her own way. Each sees through different tear-filled eyes. From this point forward, they will know that life is more fragile than they ever dreamed. They will file the shared laughter and fun times under “precious friends” in their hearts, and pull that file out when they need to remember. It is the grief that we, as parents, have hoped for our kids to avoid…the hardship that we knew one day would come and grow our kids into the adults they will become.
I remember the deaths of a couple of my friends as a teenager. I can still feel the traumatic realization that I would no longer hear their voice or share a laugh. It hurt then. It hurts still. The hope of my faith is what pulled me through way back then, and I know that hope is still active now. God holds us in our losses. He whispers his comfort to our souls. One day the shadows that cloud our view will be chased away by his glorious light. All will be clear, and there will be no more tears. On sad days like today, we long for that time, which we cannot yet see, but we KNOW will come.

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