Monday, February 21, 2011

Words cannot express

Impromtu memorial for Captain Stiles

Last Tuesday at the intersection of State Route 619 and Kaufman Avenue near the school, a traffic cop died in the line of duty.  He wasn’t just any traffic cop; he was our traffic cop, Captain Dan Stiles.  A woman driving east into the rising sun accidentally hit him, temporarily blinded by glare.  The shattering of lives happened in an instant and the community reeled in shock. Three fatherless girls as well as a widow now grieve the loss of a dad and husband; and a driver and her family now have to come to terms with what happened that day - a tragic situation from any angle.

Our school family opened the campus to host calling hours and the funeral service for a devastated family and a mourning community.  School staff worked tirelessly to make the campus spotless, setting up a sea of chairs in the gym, and organizing food and servers for a funeral dinner.  Even the main hallways were stripped of recently hung children’s art, too festive for such a somber and sad day.  A black curtain shielded the mourners from our rather strident orange mural cover.  It reminded me of some lines from Auden’s poem, Stop all the clocks:

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one;
                                                Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
As I walked down the hallway, it seemed like we took down joy and then tucked it quietly back into the art room.   We need to re-hang it at the earliest moment; the bare walls resonate a whispered lament.   

 I am bookmarking my heart to never forget Captain Stiles and what it cost him to wave me safely through to school and home again.     

No comments:

Post a Comment