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We Send Our Condolences to Star Valley

Photo by Robert Ostheimer

Photo by Robert Ostheimer

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On Thursday a freshman boy from Star Valley died doing something that I have done and seen done more times than I can count.

When someone dies it is always painful, but it is even more painful when it is a child. Like I said earlier, I’ve pulled the same stunt. It never went wrong, but I guess that’s always how it is. Nothing goes wrong until everything does. Then everything changes. For his parents, life will never be the same. For the students that were with him the accident will be forever imprinted on their memories, and nothing can ever change that. No amount of prayers or money or love can change the fact that he’s gone, but maybe it can lessen the blow of losing him.

I can’t pretend to know the boy who died. I don’t know what it’s like to lose a child, or a best friend, or a teammate, therefore I don’t know what they’re going through. But I do know about pain. That’s the thing about pain, it doesn’t have a beginning or a middle or an end. The stages of grief are a guideline, but they don’t capture the depth of the tragedy that befell the Star Valley community.

Lives end, people die, and many of them die far too soon. The best thing we can do for those we leave in the past is to remember them. The boy who died won’t age; he will stay 14 forever. I believe that’s the true tragedy of death, that it ends everything before it has a chance to start. He will never graduate high school. He will never go to state marching band. He will never marry. Every plan that anyone had that involved him has to be rewritten.

Pain tends to outshine everything else in the world, and when in pain, time tends to slow to a crawl. But even in the midst of a tragedy such as the one that befell Star Valley there is joy. There has to be. Slowly things will return to normal, or as normal as it can get. There isn’t a timeline of grief but there are stages, and the last stage is acceptance. Accepting what happened, accepting that life will never be exactly the same, and accepting that the pain will end and there will, eventually, be joy in your life after a tragedy.

CHS Bonfire and Cody High School send our sincerest condolences to the family of the boy, Lincoln County High School, and the Star Valley community as a whole.

9 Comments

9 Responses to “We Send Our Condolences to Star Valley”

  1. Doreen Thunder on September 14th, 2018 1:23 pm

    Beautifully said. So tragic.

  2. Penny Boyles on September 14th, 2018 4:02 pm

    Very well said! Great job on this story!

  3. Shandi HADERLIE Major on September 16th, 2018 10:36 am

    I am the mother of Ryder. My husband and I would like to thank you for your kind words. We also really appreciate all the support we are getting from everywhere. Thank you. Ryder will be so missed but myself, my husband and our other six children will be ok. Thank you

  4. Leslie Heiner on September 16th, 2018 3:26 pm

    I did not know your son but my daughter knew him well. I am so sorry for your lose. It is an amazing thing to see the out pour of love in response to this event. Our family wishes the best for yours and please know that Ryder will not be forgotten.

  5. Andrew G. Parker on September 16th, 2018 1:19 pm

    Such a kind and considerate expression of understanding and truth. Thank you.

  6. Christy Barzee on September 16th, 2018 2:05 pm

    Sending prayers to Ryder’s family. This is so beautiful written. Thank you. I am an Aunt to one of Ryder’s friend.s. We lost our 13 year old grandson and I love this and want to thank you for writhing such a wonderful artical. I hope it will help this young mans family. Prayers Christy.

  7. Joan on September 16th, 2018 3:54 pm

    This is beautifully written. Condolences to all of you. I love StarValley and the people. Though I left the Valley years ago, my heart is still there. I am so sorry for everyone’s loss.

  8. Cindy Hagen on September 17th, 2018 8:15 am

    Very well said. Condolences to all those that were touched by his life. May you all receive strength and comfort.

  9. Clint Campbell on September 18th, 2018 8:40 pm

    Thanks, Luke. Thanks for letting the good people of Star Valley and, especially, Ryder’s grieving family know that we’re thinking of them and praying for their healing.

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