Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My heart breaks

I have to get something off of my chest. 
Yesterday, in our quiet little town, we had a terrible incident. Following an early morning domestic dispute, a man barricaded himself inside of his pickup, in his driveway with two loaded guns. The standoff lasted for twelve hours, and ended with the police moving in, and the man being killed. 
Sometimes these things happen, and we make a quick judgment about the situation, and move on with our lives.  But, rarely do they affect our own lives so directly. This incident happened less than a mile from my home, and in the neighborhood that I just moved from, in July. The man's name was Brian Wood, and he lived next door to a good friend of mine. I didn't know Brian well, I had only met him a couple of times. 
But, and this is where my heart breaks, he has a ten year old son. This boy is a good friend of my son, Matthew. They are in the same class in school. They play on the same soccer team. Before we moved, they were in the same Cub Scout troop. I don't know what led to the standoff, but I do know that whatever it was, it was not worth the damage that has been done to this boy.
I lost my dad, when I was twenty-six, to a momentary, idiotic decision. It left a gap in my life, impossible to fill. But, I was an adult -- I cannot imagine what this young man is dealing with, and will deal with forever. No one wants the last memory of their dad to be this, but because of what happened, this boy will remember that terrible night, every time he thinks of his father.
I want to judge this man harshly, and if I didn't have a personal connection, I probably would. But, my personal connection is my son. I talked to Matthew about the situation when I got home tonight. He told me that counselors came to his class today to talk to the kids about what had happened, and to help them cope with it, and to help them know how to help this man's son, when, and if, he returns to the class. Matthew reminded me that Brian Wood took him, and the other cub scouts, to day camp for two days, back in June. He told me that he was really a cool guy. Suddenly, I was grateful that Matt had had that experience. 
Matthew knows that this man was not a monster. When so many other people only know what they saw on the nightly news, Brian's son will have a few friends, including Matthew that know that there is more to the story. 
As for Matthew, he is pretty subdued. He told me he just hopes that his friend doesn't stop playing soccer. 
My heart is broken.


Aaron said...

What do you say to something like that?......

We love you.

I too feel for that young boy.

stefanie said...


I hurt for Brian's family, your son, your community, and you.

You're right, there is always, always more to the story than what is on the news.

This may not be helpful right now, but maybe you might come back to it in the future.
There is a book you may want to read called To Own a Dragon by Donald Miller. He writes about growing up without a father. Judging by your writing style, you might enjoy his book. Also, he has started the Belmont Foundation, http://www.belmontfoundation.org/
which may have some resources that would be helpful for you.

Pam Emmons said...

How terrible. It's so horrible when a life is lost like that. I hope his son can get over this, even if just a little.

Good for Matt. That kid is so strong. We should all take a lesson from him.

Izzy, Emmy 'N Alexander said...

I don't want this comment to be mean, so I hope it doesn't come off that way. I feel for the family and the community and I too agree with you about the son.

I know each has their own struggles and hardships, but how someone could be so selfish and leave a young man to endure life without a father is very sad. I am glad that your son has a fond memory of the man. That may be a key factor in helping his friend remember his father in a pleasant manner.

Thank you for sharing the story.

imbeingheldhostage said...

I'm so sorry. I have a ten year old and I can't even imagine him going through this. I hurt for Brian who for some reason, was in a situation so desperate that consideration for his son wasn't foremost on his mind. And I'm not saying that accusingly. Depression or a chemical imbalance can make a normally rational person think irrational things-- their pain and the solution for it seems just. It's so sad. I am so sorry for all of you.

Karolynn said...

This story really makes me sad too. It is so sad how bad things can happen so fast. My prayers are with the family!