January 11, 2012

Tragedy, Heartache & Community

I spent a good part of my day today thinking about a boy I never really met.  Yesterday, a 5th grade student from Sam's elementary school died after a tragic accident on Monday night.  I do not know his family personally, but Caleb Kors was very well known in our community.  His parents vend at the Bellingham Farmer's Market, and he was a member of the Bellingham Circus Guild and performed at the Farmer's Market and various other places and events.  His family lives a mile away from us, and are members of the same community we are.  I heard a lot about him because of my connection to my Sudden Valley Moms group and Sam's school.

What a vibrant, cool kid.  I realized after the first news came out of his accident that this was the boy I'd seen around the playground a couple of times walking tightrope style across the top of the swing set.  He loved what he did, and loved entertaining people.  I have seen a lot of comments on Facebook and our local newspaper website from people who knew him from seeing him perform.  People say he had a heart of gold, that his skills were great, but his heart was even bigger.  He was a charismatic kid who spent a lot of time making people smile.

I find myself in a position again where I am left feeling absolutely heartbroken for a member of our community.  It's been less than two years since the death of Anna Brulotte, a little girl who was killed by a car in downtown Bellingham.  Even though I didn't know her, there were people I knew who had been there, and my husband went to high school with her mother.  When Caleb passed away, a part of me could not believe something like this could be happening again.  Then I imagine the ache in my heart time a million and I can't stop thinking about his parents and siblings, and how terrible it is.  My heart just hurts, and I wish more than anything that there was something I could do to help.  No one should ever have to lose a child.  It's inconceivable.

It has been a little weird because information has been flying around Facebook since he was injured, and it seems so public.  Many of my mom friends around town knew what had happened and the outcome way before the local paper even did.  The information that his death was an accidental hanging is brutal and it was out there before he even passed away.  Since then, the information has become public with the consent of his parents, but at the time it was hard to know who knew about it and even though I wanted to know what happened, I felt a little strange knowing.

But this is another case where my faith in the goodness of people is being restored.  I have watched the other mothers in my community rally around this family - there is already an online meal calendar set up to provide food for Caleb's family so they don't have to think about it.  They are making prayer flags, and talking to the school, and thinking about housecleaning and what the family will need when they are home.  People are already talking about fundraisers and memorials to help the family pay for medical bills and funeral expenses.  Not just talking, but taking action.  A Facebook page has been set up for sharing news, information, and most of all for supporting his family.  There is already a paypal account set up for people who want to help monetarily.  This little boy had dozens and dozens of people rooting for him, and now all of these people are praying and offering whatever they can to his family.  These are not resources that would have been in place in the past, and action would not have been this quick.  This family is obviously very active in the community in Bellingham, and I'm sure they would have had support.  But is there really such thing as too much love, caring, or compassion in this kind of situation?

A letter came home from school today that said that they have grief counselors on hand, and also that Caleb will be helping people because he is an organ donor.  I think it's amazing for a child's parents to be able to see through their grief that they can help others.  It's a huge gift to others who are sick and need help.

Today I as I drove down the road, there were clear blue skies, the sun was out, and Mt. Baker was crisp and beautiful in the distance.  I looked around me and I thought, the world is going on, but it's never going to be the same for Caleb's family.  It is so beautiful and bright, but for them it is such a dark time.  As a mother, even the imagining of losing a child is almost too much.  I tried to get my head around all the people in this community who are hurting right now.  Around how much his Mom and Dad and siblings are missing him right now.  I don't think I can.  My heart is with the Kors family tonight.

If you are the praying type, I know that any prayers or thoughts for peace and comfort for Caleb's family will reach them somehow.  A paypal account has been set up to help with medical bills, funeral expenses and whatever the family needs. You can make paypal donations by donating to the email address calebflipkors@hotmail.com.


Reneelucht said...

i just read your article god was flowing through your typing. Caleb is my nephew he is a talented young boy that brought laughter and joy to anybody that knew him and obviously the ones that didnt know him. i want to thank you for taking your time out of your day to be so kind and convey your thoughts during this tragic time.

Teri M said...

He seemed like such a special child...this is so sad. 

Shannon said...

So heartbreaking.  I pray the family finds peace and comfort.

Ginger said...

What a horrible tragedy, but it's so heartwarming to see a community come together to try and support one of their own. My prayers are with the family.