This past Friday night, Thomas Murray and Kelly Murray watched from the stands as their only child, Evan, played quarterback for the Warren Hills Blue Streaks in their home game against Summit. Evan Murray, a seventeen-year-old senior, had just begun his third season as the Blue Streaks' starting quarterback.
At some point in the first half, right before halftime, Murray took a hit that - in the words of one of his teammates - "wobbled him". He was helped to the sidelines where he was attended to and where a decision was made, apparently, to get him further medical attention. Ever the leader, as he was being loaded into the ambulance, he gave his teammates and the Blue Streaks' fans a thumbs-up to let them know that all was well. It was his way of assuaging their fears. The type of thing that a leader does. Leadership was among Evan Murray's many attributes.
Tragically, everything was not well. Far from it, in fact. The ambulance that whisked Evan away from the field on Friday night transported him to Morristown Memorial Hospital, which is where seventeen-year-old Evan Murray died. On Monday, the Morris County Medical Examiner, Dr. Ronald Suarez, published his autopsy results, which identified the cause of death as a ruptured spleen, which spleen - according to Dr. Suarez - was "abnormally enlarged" and therefore more susceptible to injury.
Tomorrow morning, less than one week removed from watching him do that thing that he loved to do - and by all accounts did extraordinarily well - Thomas Murray and Kelly Murray shall bury their sweet boy. They shall be forced to endure what is the fear universally shared by all of us who have the word "parent" in our job description, which is the fear of outliving our child. It is nothing short of a disturbance in the natural order of the universe. It is something that simply should not be. But it is.
And it is incredibly unfair to anyone who is forced to live through it. Condolences to Thomas Murray and Kelly Murray. May they find the strength within themselves and within each other to get through this nightmare and to wake up, together, on the other side. At this moment it feels, no doubt, as if the dawn shall never break. It shall. Whether the fact that it shall makes this period of terrible darkness any easier for them to withstand I would not pretend to know.
I hope it does.
I suspect that it does not.