I had a lovely afternoon yesterday when special friends visited and a lovely evening playing board games and drinking beer with family friends who have come to mean a great deal to us. Somewhere in between these two events filled with laughter, I found out the devastating news that a young man well known in the community (not least because of the coffee business he was involved with) had lost his life in a fatal accident when his car collided with a tree.
He was one of four brothers and I always felt that the family balanced my family of four daughters (before the two little ones from my second marriage came along). Their grandparents are warm and welcoming people that live across the road from me.
It was really hard to believe that this young man, so vibrant and full of potential, was dead.
My daughters remembered how he had given them free hot chocolate to warm themselves when they had been busking at the farmers market next to his coffee van last Christmas.
We lit a candle a for him.
This morning, my daughter Charis was performing in a 'Soiree du Matin' organised by some of the people from the church where she plays piano. I was invited along and felt full of pride and admiration as I watched her play two solo piano pieces and several duets to an appreciative audience.
Back home, Charis saw the following message on Facebook:
"For anyone who's available and wants to come and lay flowers today for my beautiful brother then we're meeting at the Red Lion at 1:30 and heading down to the site for 2pm, all support is welcomed with open arms."
We dropped everything we were doing to dash to Morrisons for flowers and joined the party of people, all demonstrating a similar air of disbelief. It was the hardest thing. The jollity of Christmas-time contrasted so starkly with this stunned sorrow. The road where the accident had occurred was closed while flowers were laid and tears shed
There are no words that can ease the pain of the parents who have lost their son or the boys who have lost a much loved brother but I hope that the show of support helps in some small way as they all come to terms with what has happened and try to move forwards with their lives.
It has been a very sobering experience me and my girls.
Life is so fragile, so unpredictable. Anything can happen to anyone at anytime.
So live life well. Appreciate all that you have. Smile and treat each day as the miracle that it is.