Keeping the hope

Guest Column

There is a day that will forever be etched in my mind. It’s a day my heart ached so deeply I struggled with each breath.

But, it isn’t the crushing day I learned of my son’s passing that I am referring to.

No, that day I am still in.

This was a cold winter’s morning in 1979, a Sunday I believe, which started with a phone call and a message — a horrific message. We learned our good friend had been killed in a fire very early that morning.

Kurt Koennecke was a beautiful person. He was kind, gentle, compassionate, and funny. A friend to all who knew him. The kind of guy who just made you feel at home in his presence as if somehow everything was going to be alright, Kurt is here. I remember Kurt as if he were standing next to me today, as clear as this day.

When he passed, I recall thinking, I must do something or say something, somehow show his family just how much Kurt touched my life, and the lives of all who were blessed to have known him. I struggled with this for months, a bit too shy and a bit too concerned I may cross some line of privacy should I reach out.

I remember thinking, what could I possibly tell his family they don’t already know about their son, their brother, their Kurt? What words could reflect the enormity of the pain they must be enduring? And my pain, as real as it is, surly pales in comparison, so what right do I have to even suggest I understand their grief?

Unfortunately, I made the wrong decision. Other than a few words read from a scripture at Kurt’s service, I shared nothing with his family. I regret that decision very much, and here is why.

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