I'm back. I watched my brother and his wife bury their only child. Whatever problems he had been through, he was putting himself back together, and he was excited about enlisting in the Marines. He was to go to the recruiting office the day he died. Despite being fatally injured, he somehow managed to get out of the car and search for help while reassuring the other young man with him all the way to ER, "Hang on, it'll be okay. My dad's coming." He was so beloved by the priest that there were times I wasn't sure he was going to make it through the service. My nephew was very close to him, and had never hesitated to confide in Fr. K., had never held back the bad or the good. Fr. K. said that A. had demons, but that even in the worst of times he continued to express a desire to be a priest, and that A. had always wanted only to be closer to God. It was so hard to watch my brother and SIL go through this and to see this young man with the whole future before him lying in a coffin.
I would like to share something A. wrote two days before his death:
This Is the Best Day
God has brought be such joy
over the past few months.
Through prayer and sacrifice
many of my dreams have come true.
My faith even in the times of trouble
has saved me and redeemed me.
Thank you God for all the gifts and
bounties you have given me.
The funeral mass was beautiful, painful as it was. I'm not Catholic, so it was unfamiliar territory to some extent. Even though I couldn't participate in communion, I found the ritual lovely and powerful. There were two women cantors with the voices of angels. I'm not familiar with many Catholic hymns, and there was one they sang that moved me deeply, called Be Not Afraid. I found a version of it on YouTube, which I will leave you with: