My 16 year old nephew Tyler left school that day with his best friend and cousin Scott. My 17 year old niece Sadie, who completed their unholy trinity, had found her own way home. They were big high schoolers with mundane teenage worries. They had hopes and dreams. They saw their future as a blank slate just waiting to be journeyed and adventured.
Ty was driving Scotty home. They were listening to their favorite band The Kottonmouth Kings when Tyler lost control of the car. The car flipped several times not only throwing Scotty from the vehicle, but also landing on him. Scotty was killed instantly. Tyler escaped with minor physical injuries, but part of him died that day, too.
The next morning Ty's mangled car and Scott's tarp covered body made the front page of our regional newspaper. The public jury was out, and Ty was found guilty.
The official investigation concluded that it was an accident. There had been another car involved that contributed to the accident, but there wasn't sufficient evidence to press charges. Ty has yet to forgive himself.
Tyler and Sadie lost more that day than most folks lose in a lifetime. Their previous life coarse shifted, suddenly, forcing them to grow up, while stunting them at the same time. I wish I could carry some of that burden for them, but then that is my burden to bare.
Scott was a bright, beautiful child. He was full of life and a constant source of mischief. He had a smile that would melt any heart and absolve him of most crimes. He lived the life he was given.
I know that Scott is in a beautiful place. I know he's happy. I know he has nothing by love in his heart for those he left behind.
For me this day is about affirming life. Our time is finite, and it is what we make of it. I want to dedicate today to living life to your fullest, loving hard, taking risks and regretting very little.
"Because we don't know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. And yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, an afternoon that is so deeply a part of your being that you can't even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four, or fives times more? Perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless..."
~Paul Bowles' Sheltering Sky