Words fail when a young person dies suddenly and seemingly for no reason. On the battlefield, we understand. After a long illness, we are better prepared. But alone, over the weekend, without warning? It’s not enough to recite “To An Athlete Dying Young.” Even a funeral mass may be scant consolation.
Last night, a group of friends gathered in a Franciscan chapel in Boston to say a Rosary for a 19-year-old youth named Brixton. We recited the Glorious Mysteries and stood around for a few moments afterward exchanging hugs. With Michael, who drove in from Beverly with me, I left quickly. There was nothing to be said. I did not even know Brixton, although Lorenzo kindly showed me a picture. In the picture Brixton had just made a pizza, and seemed quite proud of it.
I cannot possibly imagine what it would have been like if Brixton had been my own child. But I think I would have wanted the same group of friends to come together in the same chapel to say a Rosary for my child. I don’t think I would have kept my composure as Bob and Sharon and others did, but there would have been some comfort in this demonstration of friendship, this blessed companionship in Christ.