Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Sunday, July 27, 2014
A year ago this weekend, my family was devastated by the death of Elijah Davis, my daughter Crystal's boyfriend. They had been dating since their sophomore year -- they were solid and committed and loving. Good kids, involved in community and music, making good decisions and full of dreams of college and the Marines. They had just been apart for two weeks, eternity for teenagers, while Crystal was dancing in a summer program at the college she would be attending in the fall. Dennis and I had been away for a week in Florida to visit a friend who was very ill. We picked her up in Massachusetts on our way home.
When we reached the house, I was stunned to see the damage wrought by a storm while we'd been gone. Tree limbs littered our side yard, and a tree had fallen across the patio and barely missed the house. I was outside moving debris off the patio when Elijah pulled in. I heard his car, I heard his footsteps racing up the stairs, I heard Crystal's squeal of delight. I heard Alaria laugh and say, "Okay, group hug!" I stuck my head in the door and said hello. Elijah came out and looked at the fallen trees. I noticed how the sun had been bleaching his red hair all summer -- he looked tan and fit and every inch the Marine he was about to become. He told me that he would come over that week and help clear away the trees. I had finally gotten him to stop calling me "Mrs. Spear." My students did that enough. But the respect in his voice was always there. I thanked him and told him we would very much appreciate his help. Dennis and I had always jokingly told our girls they needed to find strong young men to help us out. And they both did.
And then Crystal and Elijah left for the drive-in.
I went to bed early, exhausted from our trip. Around midnight, Dennis came to bed. I asked if Crystal was home. He said she was.
The next thing I remember was the phone ringing. It was four in the morning. It had stopped ringing before I found it. I was just getting back into bed when it rang again. I answered that time. It was Elijah's mother. She asked if Crystal was home and safe. I said she was, beginning to get a horrible, horrible feeling. And then she told me that Elijah hadn't made it home.
I don't remember what I said, but Crystal and Alaria heard the tone in my voice -- it woke them way in their room. Having to tell Crystal was the hardest thing I've ever done. I remember saying over and over, "I don't know how to tell you this." And then I did. And it was worse than I imagined it could be.
The broken trees lay untouched and unnoticed beside the house for several weeks until some of our kind neighbors quietly made them go away for us.
To mark the anniversary, there will be a fund raising event for the Elijah Davis Memorial Fund at the Davis Farm in Jericho on August 7th at five o'clock. Free tickets are available at the Jericho Country Store. There will be music and food. Dennis and Alaria will be playing with their band, Maple Creek. All are welcome, and any donations much appreciated.
Fir more information, click HERE. Thank you