Cider Press Hill

Sobering

Sunday, 2:30 pm

By Kate

Sep

14

2008

overcast

A couple of nights ago, I finally called the lad. I hadn’t heard from him since he left for school. While that’s not terribly unusual, I thought I’d remind him that his ole Mom would like to hear from him from time to time. That and clearing up some of the unfinished business he left here all over his room.

The conversation didn’t go quite as I expected. Rather than being immersed in his social whirl, he said he’s been buried in books. As a defense mechanism, apparently. Three of his friends have died in the last three weeks. One perished in an ATV accident two days before he was due to arrive back at school. During the first week of school, one lad just fell over dead in the middle of conversation. Apparently a heart defect that had never been diagnosed. Last week, the third went home ill and passed away in his sleep. No one knows exactly what happened, but the kids think it may have had something to do with his volunteering stint in South America this summer.

Losing three friends in rapid succession is shocking to the system. For anyone. But young people do have a tendency to feel immortal and this has been a particular shock to their systems. I understand that gallows humor abounds and they sit around looking at each other wondering who is going to be next. Losing themselves in school work seems to help.

Well, I’m glad I called. The lad was ready to talk about it and I think he needed that outlet. I’m so sorry for him and his friends. And the families of the boys who died. So tragic and devastating. I know that death is a part of living and everyone experiences it at some point. But not like this or at this age.

It hit the lad and his friends awfully hard. “I never thought about my friends dying, Mom. We’re taking good care of each other now. We never thought about how fragile life is. I miss them.” That’s pretty heavy stuff for a 21 year old.