Blessed by the Heart of a Child

Blessed by the Heart of a Child

This week my friend Heidi called and told me her son Max wanted to go clean up Chandler’s bike memorial and bring some fresh flowers. Chandler used to give Max golf lessons. I remember Chandler making lunch to take to Max for the lesson. He took seriously the trust Dave and Heidi were placing in him to teach their son the basics of golf. Heidi asked if I wanted to join them at the bike memorial. We decided on today at 2:30.

I arrived first and looked through the notes that have been left in a little wooden box beside the bike. Some of them are nothing but faded ink on slips of paper, evidence of the frequent rains we’ve had since the memorial was set up. Even the faded, wordless slips speak to me of love for Chandler.

When Dave, Heidi, and Max got there, Max set to work with “grandma’s special cleaner” wiping down the white bike that reminds everyone who passes that somewhere a mother, a father, a sister, a brother, an aunt, a grandmother, a friend is hurting.

Heidi hugged me. I cried. I realized that in just one hour, it would be exactly six months ago that the unthinkable became reality. I hate….I absolutely hate….what happened to my son at that place. I don’t know if I will ever stop battling images of the story my mind seems bent on creating about that afternoon.

There was a reverence in the way Max approached this sacred task. He took such great care. He had picked out the flowers himself and arranged them thoughtfully in the vases that were sitting in front of the bike, vases that had recently held fresh flowers offered with love for Chandler. Max brought a ceramic bumble bee from a state report project he had done at school. He wanted to leave it for Chandler.

My heart is moved whenever I see something new on the bike. It reminds me that people are still thinking of my son, missing him, wanting to demonstrate their love for him. Today I saw a golf ball on the bike seat with the brand name “Legend I." That is fitting. Someone else brought a golf club, and there were a couple more golf balls.

Before leaving, I told Max, “Thank you. I know this means a lot to Chandler, and it means a lot to us.” He said quietly, “I just wanted to come. I just wanted to come and clean it.”

God, thank you for laying it on a young man’s heart to come and care for Chandler’s bike memorial on a day that you knew I would need some extra TLC. Amen.

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