Vail Daily Editor Don Rogers: A little child passes
Vail, CO, Colorado
My friend Heath Talbot and his wife, Becky, are living the parents’ worst nightmare: the sudden death of their 10-month-old son, Hunter.
Their little boy spiked a fever, and they took him to the emergency room early Wednesday morning. He was gone by lunchtime. Saturday, he was laid to rest in Gypsum.
Only a few of us have any real idea. Certainly I don’t. My baby is adjusting to college life. Her older brother just got engaged. Our children are stepping into their adult lives, so full of promise, such high hopes. And it’s such a thrill to see this.
My tears Saturday at the memorial were for Heath and Becky left to make sense of Hunter’s gift of just 10 months.
The sudden cold finality of it, no appeal, no recourse, no mulligan.
What now? And why?
The Talbots’ close friend and preacher Judd Rumley, of Eagle Bible Church, took the “why” question straight on Saturday morning. I have to say he knocked it out of the park. At least for me he did. I have that question. We pretty much all do.
Why are my kids allowed to give me so much joy (and some vexation, sure) as they grow into adults and some precious others are not?
Hey, I am selfish enough to be supremely thankful to thank God for our good luck and promptly feel guilty for this in light of such pain. Why can’t this bounty extend to everyone?
I don’t believe this is random. I know Heath does not believe this, either. That we don’t know the plan does not mean one doesn’t exist.
We deal with tragedy such as this, inevitably thinking about these things. Some, like Heath and his family and church, turn to their scripture and religion. They put their faith in the answers there. In this, there’s order and purpose and comfort, too.
No one can say they are wrong, either. The mystery of life is such that all things are possible. The few mechanics understood through science remain infinitesimal for all our savvy and remarkable progress.
We don’t know squat, in other words. Not really.
Heath and I differ on details, but we both believe that all this has purpose. We’re meant to experience what we experience, even if we don’t know why. That’s where faith comes in.
But that’s hard, hard stuff when it’s your baby passing suddenly. Such esoterica as philosophy and belief pale in comparison with this reality.
What’s left are the people around you. For Heath, Becky and daughter Abby, that’s their family, friends, congregation and community. That means something we do know: Simply, love.
Don Rogers is the editor and publisher of the Vail Daily. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 970-748-2920. He welcomes your comments.