On Angels Wings

There are no words to describe the grief that hovers over the crowd. Friends, parents, community members, and all those devasted by the loss of a young life.

The tragic death of an eighteen-year-old senior football star in an automobile accident the day before has torn a gaping hole in the fabric of this close-knit community.

The pain is palpable. As local clergy weave their way through the crowd to offer their support, students embrace in muted sobs as parents and friends stand by in silent reflection. Tears flow freely, even among the fathers whose sons were the friends and teammates of this young man. Everyone is acutely aware it could have been them who received that horrific call at 3:00 am.

One of our children has died. There is nothing any of us can do to bring him back. My daughter said she just saw him at the senior show. “Everything was so normal, mom,” she said. “Now it seems all unreal again.”

They have all been through so much. Two years of this crazy Covid crisis. Missing dances, proms, and multiple social gatherings. But worst of all, missing each other. The extensive period of virtual classes has left students severely depressed and angry.

Returning to the classroom was long overdue. Just recently, the mask mandates were lifted for in-classroom learning. They could finally see each other’s faces again. The class of 2022 was supposed to be the return to normalcy.

The football team had an amazing undefeated season winning the state championship for the first time ever. The gals even pitched in with their own win over our archrivals in the traditional Thanksgiving Day flag football game.

They were all flying high into the last phase of their high school years. As well, they were looking so forward to a proper senior prom. Unfortunately, their experiences going forward will be overshadowed by this tremendous loss.

My heart aches so much I can barely breathe. We move from the shelter of the high school field house to the football field where he once played. A heavy mist rains down on our hearts and heads ~ the atmosphere a perfect fit for the mood. The students gather at mid-field, surrounded by the support of counselors, coaches, and administration. Brightly colored candles are placed lovingly by their peers in the shape of the football that lays nearby.

Our children are hurting, but they are also learning in the process of this unimaginable pain. They are learning the importance of community and being there for each other in times of crisis.

They will have their own children one day and will remember this moment forever. They will hold their children closely, love them deeply, and guide them through the challenging times life brings with the resilience they are learning today.

By the grace of God, life goes on and so will they. They will do remarkable things in the loving memory of their friend.

Hopefully, they will put themselves in powerful positions of service, like the counselors and coaches that offer them strength and support today.

A student approaches the circle of friends at mid-field, clutching a large cluster of white balloons above her head. She passes one to each member of the team as they all make their way to the center of the crowd.

A loud cheer arises deep from within the huddle as they release their balloons skyward. “We love you James,” echoes throughout the applause. Rest in peace dear one. You fly with the angels now.


Cyndi Wilkins
Cyndi Wilkins
I am a licensed/ certified massage and bodywork professional and the sole proprietor of The Healing Element, located in downtown Marblehead Ma. I have been practicing the art and science of therapeutic massage and energetic bodywork for nearly 20 years. Through my training as a manual therapist, coupled with my understanding of body-centered psychotherapy, I am an empathetic partner helping my clients heal from physical pain due to illness or injury and emotional pain/trauma. My approach to healing is in recognizing the mind and body work together in creating the health of all of its systems. I welcome the opportunity to work with anyone with a desire to reconnect with their mind, body, and spirit to explore the root causes of discomfort and disease. Together we work to initiate the body's own natural response to the physical and emotional triggers caused by everyday life stresses. The goal is to address the complete body/mind complex in a truly integrative, holistic way. I also love writing and sharing dialogue with those who encourage 'positivity' as the directional flow of conversation, especially when confronting conflicting attitudes. Reinforcing positive dialogue with a calm inner presence and open-mindedness activates the inner wisdom embodied within each conversation. I believe this allows us to move more freely through life's difficulties and navigate our way to healthier solutions. Health does not come from medicine...Most of the time, it comes from peace of mind, peace of heart, and peace of the soul. It comes from laughter and love. For more information about my work, please visit my website/blog as well as my profiles on the links provided above.

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  1. Thank you my soul sister Fatima Williams ❤

    I know the deep grief of feeling alone in your pain. I lost my best friend under tragic circumstances the summer we graduated from high school.

    This recent experience awakened in me a lot of pain I have worked so hard over forty plus years to put to rest. It all surfaced like it was yesterday.

    I guess it just serves as a reminder about how important the support of a community is when facing such life-altering challenges.

    We all face loss, but the shear magnitude of such a tremendous tragedy for this young man and his family will send ripple effects throughout this tight knit community for years to come.

    I am holding my daughter a lot closer these days…You can never say I love you enough!

    I would love, love, love to zooma zoom with you my dear friend. Let’s find a time that works for us.😘

  2. I could feel the ache in my bones as I read each line Cyndi. And them coming together as a community to let go of the grief and celebrate life is critical to the healing. My experience I know that grief when alone feels like being lost in the middle of the ocean and there’s no one to turn to and no water to drink. But then again it continues to happen, if we are in a group with loved ones and shut ourselves down, this happens silently. I remember when I started sharing about my dad and my experiences with his death with the online community and the comfort I received was critical to my learning and healing journey. I knew I wasn’t alone and there were other’s like me but to share it out loud and feel the motion together is the greatest support a community can have. The I went I shared it with my own friends and got the sane support. Grief and guilt are intertwined and only when we share how we feel, will we be able to know that it is not, just I, who thinks like this and we can begin to heal and grow. Once again sending you loads of love for being my sister from another mister always! We must hop on a call soon!