I went to the funeral home this afternoon for the visitation of Nolan McCabe, the 10-year-old boy who was killed in the freak accident at Fort Morgan, Alabama while vacationing with his family on the Gulf Coast last week when Tropical Storm Cindy roared through. I’ve known Nolan’s grandfather, Kevin for about twenty years.
The place was packed with visitors both young and old. I could tell that groups of kids were there paying their respects to a lost classmate that they’ll never see again at school. I never had to have that discussion with my kids when they were young about a friend of theirs that had died. I can’t imagine how hard that conversation would be. Nor can I imagine having to tell siblings that their brother (or sister) won’t be coming home again.
I got there pretty early and had to wait in line for almost 30 minutes to pay my respects. I can only imagine how long the line got later in the evening. There were probably 20-plus large poster boards full of photos of young Nolan placed all around the funeral home. I’m used to seeing a few displays like this when a loved one passes but they normally cover a lifetime of memories, from infancy to old age. All of these, today, had photos of this one very young man with his family, friends, and classmates. This one young man whose life was cut short, so damn short, smiling and laughing and loving life. I’m not a crier by nature but I almost lost it when I saw his Boy Scout uniform on display as I neared the closed casket and spoke briefly with his family.
I’m just glad they have so many photos of this young man that they can at least use them to remember his smile and reflect on his short but happy life.
Lesson learned: Take lots of photos and do your best to enjoy your family and friends every chance you can. Never forget yesterday, but always live for today, because you never know what tomorrow can bring, or what it can take away.