Just too sad for words


The sober­ing words of Je­sus Christ came trag­i­cally home to a fam­ily vis­it­ing Bay Roberts last week.

Their el­dest son – he was only 11 year old – was taken sud­denly from his lov­ing par­ents and si­b­lings when he suc­cumbed to in­juries from a fall over a high, ver­ti­cal cliff on the north side of the har­bour in the east end of the town.

The boy and his fam­ily had no way of know­ing that one minute he would be en­joy­ing New­found­land’s great out­doors – play­ing in­no­cently in a grassy meadow, un­aware of the dan­gers that lurked be­neath his feet. And the next, gone for­ever, af­ter wan­der­ing pre­car­i­ously too close to the edge of a steep (ver­ti­cal) cliff. Un­aware the ground, de­scribed as “a bit un­sta­ble” was all that sep­a­rated him from a straight drop to the rocks about 30 me­tres be­low.

Trag­i­cally, Christo­pher Davis was not the first to have lost his life to the dan­gers that lurk around our rugged coast­line, and equally trag­i­cally, he will not be the last.

It’s a shore­line that can be wildly beau­ti­ful, and at the same time, ter­ri­bly un­mer­ci­ful. Or as a poet may de­scribe it, “a ter­ri­ble beauty.”

Be­sides the words of Christ, there is an­other old say­ing this un­speak­able tragedy brings to mind:

It is only nat­u­ral that chil­dren should bury their par­ents, but “no par­ent should have to bury their child.”

In­deed, per­haps only those of you who have done so can be­gin to com­pre­hend the ex­cru­ci­at­ing heartache the Davis Fam­ily has had to en­dure since the tragic loss of their pre­cious son.

Such wounds to the hearts of the griev­ing are so deep, only time can even be­gin to heal them.

While none of us can feel such pain as in­tensely as those clos­est to loved ones lost, such tragedies touch all of us who write about them, and all of you who read about them or hear about them on the news.

The grief and the pain that vis­its fam­i­lies at such times is like a con­ta­gion that reaches out to the wider com­mu­nity as we sym­pa­thize with the grief stricken and strug­gle so hope­lessly to find words that don’t ex­ist.

In this case the wider com­mu­nity in­cludes Co­linet, where the boy’s fam­ily roots run deep; Cam­bridge, On­tario, the fam­ily’s adopted home and the Bay Roberts area, where the tragedy un­folded.

The high es­teem in which young Christo­pher was held by all those he touched in his 11 years with them was ex­pressed in the nu­mer­ous thought­ful con­do­lences left on the web­site of Dun­phy’s Fu­neral Home in Holyrood, which han­dled his fu­neral ar­range­ments.

One de­scribed him as, “a sweet boy with an in­fec­tious smile and he will be dearly missed.”

An­other re­mem­bered him as “a won­der­ful child whose mem­ory will be held in the hearts of all who knew him. “A finer young man there could not be. The SJK (St. John’s Kil­marnock) has lost a beau­ti­ful son,” read an­other.

“One had fond mem­o­ries of sitting be­side Christo­pher in chapel just so that I could hear his beau­ti­ful singing voice.” This writer also spoke of Christo­pher’s “ love of read­ing, gift for writ­ing and de­sire to en­gage in thought­pro­vok­ing con­ver­sa­tions.”

His love of read­ing was echoed by many, one de­scrib­ing it as his “vo­ra­cious ap­petite for books.

“He was so full of life and fun to be around,” an­other said.

“ This young fel­low was full of spirit and a real force in life,” an­other ob­served.

But per­haps the most pro­found com­ment came from Christo­pher’s best friend. “ You were my best friend and have now passed away. I will miss you be­cause we had so much fun to­gether. I am very sad, but you will al­ways be my best friend.”

For those who did not know Christo­pher Davis or his fam­ily per­son­ally, you get the sense from the above in­sights from those who did that here was a young man full of in­tel­li­gence, tal­ent, thirst for knowl­edge, zest for life and prom­ise. A young man with a record of ac­com­plish­ment al­ready be­yond his ten­der years.

Our hope is that Christo­pher’s fam­ily can find some so­lace in the knowl­edge that their son was held in such high re­gard by so many – he has left his foot­prints on the sands of time.

We should also re­mem­ber them in our thoughts and prayers as they con­tinue to bear the bur­den of such a pro­found loss.

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