A couple of weeks ago, Brandon McClelland, the 18 year old son of friends of ours was murdered by another kid on a bike with a gun. He rode up, asked if Brandon was a gang member and when he said "No." and started to walk away, he was shot.

We knew them years ago when we both lived in Detroit and went to church together there. They live in Chicago now. Even though they were not close friends, and we haven't seen them in about 10 years, the news was like a punch in the stomach. How do you make sense of that? What do you say to the family? If it were my child, how could I face life again? He was killed 7 days before his senior prom. For some reason I thought right away about the tux rental shop calling about picking up his tuxedo that day. Then I began to imagine all the little things that would happen over the coming weeks, months and years that would serve as a reminder that he was no longer with them. Graduation plans to cancel, perhaps even graduation gifts arriving that would need to be returned with an explanation, birthdays, letters arrivng from prospective colledges that he may have applied to or considered, the proms their other children would attend in comming years. Innocent things that would spark memories and a flood of emotions. I can only imaginge the pain they must feel.

I looked up the article (free registration required) about the shooting (another here, scroll down). It was only 5 paragraphs long and also dealt with another shooting and a judges ruling in a third. It seems so cold that a young man's life, the pride and joy of his family, an only son and oldest of three children could be reduced to a few short sentences.

A mutual friend here in Columbus went up to Chicago to be with them and to attend the funeral. He was buried on prom day. If there's any joy to be found in this it's here: Over 1,500 people came to support them in this time of need. They added 3 1/2 hours of viewing time, but it was still not enough to accomodate everyone. Though we didn't know them well in Detroit, it was clear there that they were loved by many, and that they loved many as well. As soon as you spent a few minutes with them, their warmth, love and compassion was obvious. The turn out is testamony to the impact they've had on literally hundreds of people. Moreover, his father gave the eulogy and said if it weren't for Brandon, they would have never become Christians. So, ironically, because of his life (and their trasformed, giving hearts) they have this overwhelming support in his death.

To the McClellands, if you end up reading this, please know my heart and prayers, and my family's, go out to you.

Monthly Archives