What a tragic week this has been. As I sit to write it is Saturday afternoon. Beginning last Saturday, my friend Jace Vetere was laid to rest after a tragic motorcycle accident.
On Monday the tragic shootings of Virginia Tech rocked the nation. Several hundreds lost their life in Iraq due to those ever present suicide bombers.
Yesterday, Friday I was going into Price to attend a junior high track meet at the Carbon High School. As I approached the first stop light I saw a small spiral of smoke rising into the sky. I thought maybe someone was burning weeds or something and decided I would stop and check it out as I got closer. As I drove up Carbon Avenue it became apparent the smoke was coming from a trailer in the trailer park. I parked along the road and with camera in hand went to see what was happening and to see if I could be of any assistance.
The trailer was just beginning to blaze. I quickly learned a small child was still in the trailer. The fire department wasn't there yet. The mother had carried two children out to safety before I arrived and went back in to get the two year old, but the fire was so intense she couldn't locate the child.
The mother was so distraught at not being able to locate her child. No one could enter the trailer, four men who happened upon the fire or lived near also tried to get in to find the baby.
I have never felt such a feeling of total despair and helplessness knowing there was no way in to get the baby and knowing his life was being taken by the fire at that very moment.
I know we have a merciful Father in Heaven and this baby has been swept up to live with Him. But, this poor family, what grief they will have to endure in the time ahead.
So many things go through your mind at a time like this. I wish I could have been just a little sooner happening by there. Maybe I could have helped the mother get the baby out. Just a few minutes sooner, maybe I shouldn't have stopped at the credit union. Maybe I shouldn't have read my emails before leaving to work to go to the track meet. But, it was not to be.
Being one of the first people there, one of the police officers asked me to take the mother to the street. The firefighters had arrived and two of them were suiting up to enter the trailer to find the child while others were working on containing the fire.
The distraught mother was in shock and I helped her to the street and stayed with her as she made a cell phone call to her husband who was at work. I know it was hard for him to understand what she was saying as she just screamed into the phone. I almost asked her if she wanted me to talk to him, but she finally got the information out to him.
How one phone call can change your whole life, how going to class one morning can be the last thing you ever do. Our world is ever changing and sometimes you wonder if the bad things out number the good. But, then I am an idealist and I hope the bad will never outweigh the good.
The people of Price have started a fund for the Wyatt family who lost everything in the fire. People are reaching out to help. The baby can never be replaced, but his memory can be kept alive.
I later returned to the fire scene to see if the cause had been determined and I talked to the fire chief. Cousins of the family pulled up to the trailer and I asked him the baby's name and he said his name was Weston and he would have been two on April 29. I told him I too, have a son born on April 29. How hard to lose a child under any circumstances, but to lose a child in this way must be excruciating.
I hope this poor mother does not blame herself. I know she did everything she could possibly do to save this baby. Sometimes we do all we can do and it isn't enough. This is when our Creator picks up the pieces and helps us go on. She must continue to live for herself, her husband and her other children and because life is for those of us who continue to be alive; even when the day is bleak and it feels so useless. There is someone out there who needs us. Someone we can help. If I have learned one thing from this fire, it is that life is so precious. We must live every day to the fullest. We must help everyone we can along the way. This is truly why we are here to try to make a difference in someone's life.
Back to a week ago when they laid Jace to rest. What a hero he was, what an example of what we should be in our lives. He truly loved everyone, he loved adventure, he loved life. What better way to pay tribute to those who have died than to keep going and to embrace life and live it.