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Your Advocate: Children shouldn't have to face death of a classmate

By Chris Cobler
April 10, 2012 at 5:05 p.m.
Updated April 10, 2012 at 11:11 p.m.

Austin Davis, 16, pitches for Victoria West Warriors vs. Schulenburg. Austin died Monday from unknown causes.

Compassionate Friends

The Compassionate Friends helps people who have experienced the death of a child. The Victoria chapter meets 7-8:30 p.m. every second Tuesday of the month at the First United Methodist Church, 407 N. Bridge St.

For more information, contact Linda Goss at 361-648-4890 or Doris Perkins at 361-573-9886.

Tears rolled down the reporter's face as she hung up the phone Monday evening.

"Who were you talking with?" I asked.

"The family," she said.

"Oh."

What else was there to say? Such profound loss cascades upon all who come close.

I went home a short time later to have dinner with my family. As I drove home, I thought about our two children, both students at West, who probably knew Austin Davis. For their own sake, I hoped not well. Our daughter already had endured the loss of a close friend three years earlier.

Before dinner, we started talking immediately about the inexplicable death of a 16-year-old. "Did you notice how quiet the halls were after the announcement?" our son said.

"That's how it was for Alyssa, too," his older sister recalled.

Our daughter couldn't believe it was Austin, the sweet, quiet boy who sat next to her most of the year in history class. "He was a good kid, Dad," she said simply - she's a junior, and he was a sophomore.

His death didn't seem real somehow, she said. Our kids didn't know how to react to the loss. Who does? What do you tell them?

The table where Austin sat was empty Tuesday during history class. The lives of his family will be empty forever. That's the risk we all take when we love.

He was a good kid. With a good life ahead of him, surely. You dream of what your children will become. You hope for so much for them.

Why bring so much pain to one family? To one community already dealing with the loss of a 4-year-old? Why?

The reporter wrote a heart-wrenching, beautiful story about Austin. He and his father shared a love of baseball. The Warriors played Tuesday in his honor.

Love.

Sorrow.

Anger.

The words come up short.

Chris Cobler is the editor of the Victoria Advocate. He may be reached at ccobler@vicad.com or at 361-574-1271. He also is available from 9-10 a.m. weekdays in the Advocate Internet Cafe, 311 E. Constitution St.

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