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Hiking tragedies: Help me find the wailing wall | Letters
Oh community of Federal Way, where is the “Wailing Wall?”
I need to go there and spend hours lifting cries to the heavens for those who are missing their sons lost in the past few months in hiking accidents.
When walking toward the Brooklake Church entrance the morning of July 7, a tall, slender man, looking to be about in his 70s, came up, looked me in the eye and voiced with haunting intensity, “My son, John, is missing.” This father’s deep grief, as if he already knew, reached down into the core of my soul. On July 9, his precious son’s body was found at the bottom of a ravine. A wailing place was born inside my heart where alone I go and weep for the loss that John’s father and mother face.
On Monday morning, Sept. 17, my daughter received a call. Two friends she knew from Christian Faith School, Andrew and Ben, died after falling during a hike Sunday afternoon. As my daughter and the other students reach out to comfort their hearts in the knowledge that Andrew and Ben are in the very presence of Jesus Christ, a wail rises from the deepest part of my soul. Yes, Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior and I believe Andrew and Ben are in heaven. But the wail inside me comes from seeing through the eyes of a parent, the years of “missing Andrew” and “missing Ben” that lies ahead for the father and the mother of these two precious boys.
Romans 12:15 says that real “love in action” is to “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” At the memorial service for Andrew and Ben on Sept. 24, the lives of these two young men will be celebrated. I pray that the stories of the impact they had on others and the humorous moments remembered will be a comfort to their families and to the community. But I don’t want to turn away from mourning just because it is too painful to take a close look at the loss to the families.
When I look at my own front door, I am reminded that there are parents in our community who long for their child just to walk through the door of their home, but who because of events in recent days, know it will not happen on this Earth ever again.
A wail of mourning rises in me when I realize these parents will be reminded throughout their lives of the deep loss, the part that has been blasted away. They will face going to the grocery stores, to the banks, and doing all the normal tasks; looking like a whole person while in reality feeling like part of their very body has been cut off.
The parents will face a world of people they bump into during their daily tasks who cannot see the handicap of deep sorrow hidden in their souls.
To John Wright’s father and mother, I mourn with you. To Andrew Lusink and Ben Skagen’s families, I have woken up every morning since hearing the terrible news with tears flowing down my face. I mourn with you. Oh please, Federal Way community, tell me where the wailing wall is. I need to go there.
Coco Tomlinson, Federal Way