The Washington Times-Herald

March 17, 2012

A sadness felt by everyone

By T. Daniel Lancaster
Washington Times-Herald

WASHINGTON — Eight days ago, this community suffered a tragic loss. Our hearts were ripped apart as we heard the news of an accident which took the lives of two young men — both just 16 years old.

It was a tragedy felt by everyone locally. Classmates, teammates, members of DECA, Student Council, faculty, and even students from others schools have come together to grieve, offer condolences and pray for the families.

 While Derek Arvin and  Zach Blubaum only lived 16 years, their unnaturally shortened lives will be remembered for a long time.

It’s important for our community and each one who is grieving to remember you are not alone. We have each other to lean on, cry with and talk to. And, we have an Almighty God who has His arms open and full of compassion. Although it’s easy in times like this to ask “Why God?,” we must have faith to accept that He is in control of the universe. From the Bible, we know that He even knows of each sparrow in the sky, and God certainly has a much deeper care for His children.

Whether it is a family member or friend, most adults already know the agonizing journey that follows the loss of a loved one.

It’s especially hurtful for all of us as we witness many teenagers — friends of Arvin and Blubaum — going through this grieving process for the first time with no time to prepare.

There are those who are able to process loss quickly and move on with their lives; and there are those who take a lot longer. There are the grieved who find an outlet for their pain and sorrow, and some who will keep it inside until it becomes too much. Many will seek to learn from a tragedy and make their lives better, and there are some who may be consumed by the pain.

Let us surround these families and the friends of Derek and Zach with compassion and lift them up in prayer.

 There will be dark days ahead — some days when the most unassuming item or event will trigger that loss. Some days it make seem like everything triggers memories.

If you are overcome with grief, remember help is out there. Whether it is from a friend, teacher, parent or pastor, there are many ready to listen. We all grieve together, and we must be there for one another.

The community can draw inspiration from the strength of these young men — their dynamic personalities, smiles, good nature, and examples of leadership should be patterned after.

Like the recent untimely losses of Seth Coy, Mark Kelsey, and many others, this community once again has banded together to find strength and the resolve to honor them and support the Arvin and Blubaum families. Let’s not let these folks down in the days ahead.

Know that you are not alone — all of this community is grieving with you.