The sun rose brightly over the countryside of Boone County, May 21st 2012. The aftermath of twisted metal and flame still smoldering as blue and red lights were engulfed by yellow. The whispers of many people had finally begun to fade away as the crowds dispersed. The paramedics only worked for an hour or so, but it felt like a lifetime as they were finishing up their work on the semi driver’s arm. He was lucky to be alive, with a mere bruised ribcage and sprained arm, he would be out of a job for a little bit while his truck would be repaired or until he received a new one, if he wasn’t fired by the next day.
On the other side, paramedics finally hung their heads in disappointment as one life was not so lucky that morning.
The mother was looking over with puffy red eyes as she buried her face into the father’s shoulder. Her sobs were echoing over the countryside, as the mists in the trees began to clear away.
“We’re sorry, Ma’am. The trauma to his head was just too severe; he might have been brain-dead if we had managed to get a pulse anyway. We did all that we could, we’ll pray for you” Said a paramedic.
He returned to the body, and with the help of his colleagues, sealed the face under a black veil with a zip. It was the last time Michael would ever have the sun against his face.
The driver of the semi looked at the parents as the body of the son was hauled away into the ambulance for a final time. He made eye contact with the mother, but quickly looked away.
The chain messages flooded the county that morning, within minutes everyone learned about the death of Michael Dings. That morning, there was an eerie essence of quiet among all kinds of people, some who had never known, and some who were his best friends.
All across Facebook, RIP messages and statuses clouded everyone’s news feeds and walls. Some people who never even met Michael talked about him like they knew him like a best friend, and others barely had a word to say, as they were filled with shock.
There were prayers, and there were RIP’s, and some people wrote whole posts in tears before realizing that their posts were too long.
A status appeared from the parents “Funeral this Wednesday 5pm.”
That Wednesday evening, people of all kinds flooded the mortuary as they lined up to meet a closed casket, picture frame of someone who is no more by its side. His best friend, trying to hold back tears, took a moment to pray for his long lost friend. He prayed for the soul of the boy who been an Atheist when he died.
Some people left flowers, others left wishes, and some prayed for the boy and his family. It was not enough time to say goodbye.
His girlfriend at the time, beautifully elegant in black, laid a flower by his picture. She had no words, only tears, he wouldn’t blame her and she knew. The service was short. There was a slideshow, music, and a prayer circle called on by the best friend. No one preached, as requested, but many still prayed and hoped.
That evening, a white tombstone was erected in his name as his casket was carried out to a field, open and inviting, where the stars would always be visible at night. A last word was said, as many people said their last goodbyes. The tombstone read something really simple “That’s what life is all about, laughing and loving each other, and knowing that people aren’t really gone when they die.”
It was a message, proud and true, and something Michael lived his life by. His only regret would be that he didn’t have longer to create more smiles on the faces of those he loved.