Friday, September 18, 2015

Love Them NOW

My heart is breaking.

A family of six from my hometown of Platte, SD was killed in a house fire yesterday. In a small town of around 1300 people where everyone knows everyone this is a devastating tragedy.

Scott and Nicole were high school sweethearts who had immersed themselves in the community and, from what I know, had friends everywhere. They were active in their church, in the school system, in the community. They had four children who were in elementary, junior high, and high school. In such a small town, that means that every. single. child. that attends school in Platte knew them and were likely friends with them.

Because that's what it's like in a small town. You know everyone and pretty much everyone is friends. Obviously you have some cliques, some "mean girls", some bullying, just like any other school. But aside from that I know that my experience there was that I knew and liked everyone...even those that weren't in my "circle of friends". I'm guessing that it is similar today, and the loss of four children from the school will be devastating to the entire school will take a lot of time for kids in Platte to heal.

My personal connection to the family is that Nicole's youngest sister was my childhood best friend (we are still friends - since 1st grade!). I grew up with this family. We went to the same one-room country school in early elementary. I had sleepovers at their house. We went to high school together. We were "rural neighbors" (we didn't live next door to each other, but were only a few miles apart).

I remember one of my very first sleepovers ever was at their house. It was for my best friend's birthday party. In their home the kids had to do the dishes after meals, and because I was there it was considered a "special occasion" so their mom said she would do them. I remember Nicole cheering and saying "YAY for Evie!!".

She was the cool older sister and that really stuck with me....she was happy I was there.

Since she was older than me we didn't hang out much through high school, but she was always kind and I will always have fond memories when I think of her. Honestly, one of the most vivid memories I have of her is seeing her in the hallway with her arm around Scott. They were sweethearts from a very early age and everyone knew they would get married. They did, and from what I know were very happy together through the rest of their lives.

As a couple and family, they had dealt with their own fair share of tragedy in their own lives and families. About 8 years ago Nicole's youngest sibling, her only brother, passed away and then a couple years later Scott's younger sister passed away after a long battle with cancer.

My heart aches for their families. It's a tragedy to lose one child/sibling. But it's infinitely multiplied when you lose two PLUS 4 grandchildren/nieces and nephews too. Words just can't even do the emotions justice.

It's things like this that serve as a very stark and vivid reminder to hold those you love close and tell them you love them. Don't hold grudges. Forgive them for any wrong-doing against you. Pray for them. Love them. Enjoy every single minute you have with them and don't take anything for just never know when someone's day is going to be their last.

If you are part of my village, please know that I LOVE YOU. Even if I don't tell you every single time I see you. I appreciate you for the part of my life you have, I am thankful for the things I've learned from you, for the encouraging word you've given me, and for each and every smile we've exchanged. Thank you and know how much I value you and our friendship.

I need to go love on my kids for a little while now. I encourage you to do the same.


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