Monday, May 19, 2008

An Unplanned Reunion

I wrote about a Shaw family reunion last October. They come around too seldom. We had a great time that fall day, telling stories, reminiscing, catching up on the doings of the younger branches, marveling at youngsters who had grown so, matured so.

Several of us especially noticed how the older teen boys, Jeremy and Tyler had grown so tall, self-assured, well-spoken. My sister Joan marveled at their comfort at talking with their elders. They were intelligent, articulate and at ease.

Last Friday we got together again on shorter notice.

On Mother's Day Tyler, only seventeen, had visited his mother in Hampton. He had texted his Dad on his cellphone as he left to drive home to Warner Robins. Driving home alone, he wore his seatbelt and did not speed.

Jeffrey was on the phone with his mother, who lives in in Florida, expressing his concern that Tyler's usual texted "K" had not arrived yet. He had to end the conversation early because another call was coming in from a number he did not recognize. It turned out to be the call that no parent should ever have to receive.

When a tire had drifted off the pavement Tyler had over-reacted. The car jerked back onto the road, crossed the median, flipped, and hit an oncoming vehicle. Still Tyler's injuries would have likely been minor except for a loose piece of cargo that hit his head. He was pronounced dead at the scene but the EMT's paddles elicited a faint heartbeat. He was life-flighted to a hospital in Atlanta and clung to unconcious life until Tuesday.

I left school at noon on Friday and by a little after one Mama, Sheila, Joan and I were on our way to Warner Robins for a funeral. As it turned out we were caught in traffic delays and did not reach Christ United Methodist Church until five-thirty. The service was nearly over. Cars filled the church lot and grassy areas and nearby lots. We parked at a bank across a side street. The sanctuary was overflowing and the funeral directors suggested we wait in the fellowship hall for the service to end. There we looked at the photo collages and scrapbooks displayed around the room. In them here and there a picture of my cousin looking so much like his daddy - my Daddy's brother - Jack. But mostly of Tyler. The baby born - just yesterday - in 1991. The toddler. The pre-teen. The soccer-obsessed teen. There were cards from his classmates and team mates.

(I never finished this post, but decided three & a half years later to let it post at the original date)

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