One decision, one small decision, was all it took to separate a young man from his earthly life. He wasn't allowed one more mistake. He pulled out in front of an oncoming pickup and that was it. His passenger went to the hospital, and he went to heaven.
Kids and cars. As a culture we just seem to assimilate this type of loss like we know some people pay and most of us won't. Yesterday at the funereal home that cost wasn't worth it. The young man killed in the wreck was 17. He was one of those characters who had overcome everything being thrown at him and was making it.
His mother and father died when he was about five. He came with his sisters and brothers to live with an aunt and her husband who took them in and offered as much love and support as any family could. He attached to the step uncle only to have that connection lost by untimely death.
Still, the young man went on. He was liked, participated in sports, took part in life every day. People smiled when he came into a room.
And now he's gone. Not to drugs or booze, which would have been easy enough, but to one simple 17 year-old decision. The shock, and grief, and loss of it showed on every face yesterday, young or old.
We have a teenager with his learner's permit. One day soon he'll be on his own out there making decisions. All those faces I was looking at yesterday swim past my eyes. One other image sticks even more in my head; his wrestling jersey pinned to a photo board never to be worn again.