Connor M’s memorial service was at 11 AM this morning. We knew there’d be a crowd.. so we had decided to park at Jack B’s and walk into town with them. Around 10 we left from Jack’s and walked towards the Congregational Church .We saw quite a few other friends with the same idea.. The day was sparkling, sunny and cold.. Everyone was quiet as we walked.. This town has seen more than it’s share of tragedy in the past 10 years… and I sense folks all feel that. . Jarred, Amanda, our Sam, Adam, Brendan and now Connor.
The church was packed.. and silent as we waited for the service to start. Really.. not a word.. though every seat was full. The service was shrt and direct. a few hymns. a few prayers.. and a really good set of comments from Rev. Ling the new paser at the Congo. She used the story of Lazurus to frame a message about how folks needed to move beyond feelings of guilt and blame. It was heartfelt and direct. She concentrated on Connor’s life, not his death.. and asked people to remember him for the great kid he was. The service ended and folks shuffled downstairs.. again.. completely silently. Connor’s parents, brothers and sisters were there by the door greeting everyone. We had a breif moment of mutual acknowledgment in our shared loss.. then moved on. This was not about us.. it was about Connor. Seeing his family there brought back strong and surreal memories of comforting others at Sam’s memorial.. We spent a few minutes milling around taking to people. It was particularly good talking to a few of the teachers from MMU.. they are taking Connor’s death understandably hard.. It was good to see him supported. A bit later, Bucky B. started a slide show that one of Connor;s friends had complied. The pictures were of a happy and athletic kid.. I remember him out on the lacross field . it was good to see his smiling face. Watching everyone watching that movie put me over and I cried.. i felt so bad for connors family. friends and teachers.. .. what they are going through.. .. .. It’s no use to say that they will heal in time.. they will, but it’s useless to hear that in these early days..
After a bit. we headed home.. It felt good to be outside in the sun again.. Connor’s service stayed with me most of the rest of the day. not much else happened.. and that was fine.Life goes on.. it always does..
Tomorrow is Connor M’s memorial service. It’s been hard this week watching our community try to get their heads around the unthinkable …. . I was out of town all week . but I was able to watch folks integrating Connor’s death on Facebook… it reminded me how important and helpful I found social networking to be when Sam died.. Back then it was Myspace. Talkign to everyone on myspace is what inspired me to start this blog. .. I still have a record of everythign folks wrote.. I still have sam’s myspace page.. folks still post on it occasionally.. and they even send Sam messages there, still. I see them come in.. but I never read them.. I still view them as private.
Here’s a memorial site that someone set up for Connor.. Kids are using it to share their feelings .. and comfort one another..
I’ve noticed that as a sign of support, tons of kids at MMU have changed their FB profile picture to the purple rose picture from this site..
I even saw how the event got people thinking about us.. Here’s a hit profile of the night I blogged about Connor’s death..
I know it might sound strange to be thinking about this stuff now., but .. I’m really grateful that the community has a resource like Facebook to use in a time like this. I wonder if the creaters ever thoguht their software could help people so much in tough times ?
This morning we learned that Connor Menning, a 15 year old kid at Mount Mansfield died by his own hand while at school .Connor was in Gabe’s math class and one his LAX team.. he was a really good kid..
like everyone else in our community, I’m grieving tonight .. and sending my love out to Connor, his family, his classmates and our whole community.
I’ve tried several times to wrap some words around what I’m feeling . I wish there was something in our experience around Sam’s death and our slow healing that would help .. I want to say something that will make it make sense. to try and bring some comfort to others… But.. I know there are no good words..
Connor’s friends are organizing a memorial for him tomorrow at MMU. The organizers are asking everyone to wear purple in Collin’s memory.
Please keep Connor in your hearts and let your response to this tragedy come from love respect and caring for Conner, his family and for each other. Our community is at its best when we come together in love. That’s how the healing will start…