For Humboldt

I can’t get Humboldt off my mind.


Dayna Brons, the team’s athletic trainer, became the 16th yesterday to lose her life in this horrific crash.

Her sweet face smiles out from the news screen, forever 25.

I read about Adam Herold, traded to the Broncos only weeks ago, one of the dead, a casualty of inconceivably bad timing. Today would have been his 17th birthday.

Here in New England, we station sticks on front porches, wear our jerseys, donate what we can.


Dig for meaning in all of the hurt.


There are no other people’s children writes Ann Voskamp in The Broken Way.

These young men, these boys, are our boys, their families our families, their loss our loss.


When I woke up yesterday, after yet another night of snow, it was to a campus shrouded in fog.

Rather than grumble about the-April-that-never-was, I went for a run and discovered something extraordinary.

Somehow, where foggy particulate and cold branch converged now grew delicate fibrous ice sculptures, surprising in their juxtaposition.



I rushed to capture them on my phone as the sun rose higher, gently erasing each shadowy image with its warm-ray kiss.


The significance of beauty growing out of such apparent barrenness reminded me of my own grief.

The days of shock following my son’s car crash seemed destined to bury me in their forever dead-ness; I never thought I would ever again be able to get out of bed, cook a meal, laugh.


I grieve with the mothers of Humboldt, my children with the siblings who lost their brothers at that fateful intersection.

For years, my sons and daughter sat on hundreds of busses, traveled to thousands of games, trusted their lives to men and women behind many a fickle wheel.

Two of them still do.


What does it mean to trust?

IMG_2217I started reading a book about heaven before the Humboldt crash, a voluminous tome of surprising reveals.

I realized that I knew very little about our ultimate home, and much of what I thought I knew did not fit with what Jesus, his disciples, or the prophets have said about it.


That heaven will be a place of unimaginable joy I was pretty sure I already knew, but not that it will also be a place of explosive creativity, learning, even meaningful, happy work that will bring us great fulfillment.

But the chapter I was really curious about was the one about sports.

Will there be sports in heaven?


If heaven is a joyful place (and it is), and if sports bring us joy here on earth (indeed, they do), and if God designed our bodies to reflect His glory (that He did), does it not stand to reason that in the place of eternal goodness and camaraderie and delight, there will be endless opportunities to express our athletic imaginations to bring God glory?

Happily, it seems so.

I picture my son, waiting in the runway for the boys of Humboldt, tapping shoulders and cheering and showing them around.

Welcome, boys.


Let’s go.


How’s about a little game of shinny?


And moms?


You birth-moms and billet-moms?

I know you’re looking out at this heavy new landscape and the fog is thick right now – so thick that it freezes the trust right out of your very soul.

But I promise you.

Someday, one day, you will get out of bed.

Cook a meal.

Even laugh.

You probably feel, as I did, that this is nothing you can ever imagine even wanting; our boys are precious, and we cannot fathom any normal without them.

But slowly, ever slowly, the sun will melt the shadows away and you will look and there will be beauty, tenuously balanced between this world and the next.


There are no other people’s children.

Your loss is our loss.


Author: walkwithme413

Jesus-lover. Hiker. Mother. Friend.

5 thoughts on “For Humboldt”

  1. Wow! Cheryl. Amazing thoughts and empathy.

    On Thu, Apr 12, 2018 at 10:17 PM, walkwithme413 wrote:

    > walkwithme413 posted: “I can’t get Humboldt off my mind. Dayna Brons, the > team’s athletic trainer, became the 16th yesterday to lose her life in this > horrific crash. Her sweet face smiles out from the news screen, forever 25. > I read about Adam Herold, traded to the Broncos” >


  2. Dear Cheryl,

    Thank you so sincerely for your eloquently-written truthful, painful and hopeful perspective. Thank you Steff, for posting and giving me the opportunity to read. I shared it with Connor, who like all in this hockey family, has been painfully processing this tragedy. We pray for your peace and healing, as I can only imagine this re-opens a perpetually healing wound in your heart. I love Steven Curtis Chapman’s song, written after his child’s tragic death, “With Hope”, a lyric reads,

    “And we can cry with hope
    We can say good-bye with hope
    ‘Cause we know our good-bye is not the end
    And we can grieve with hope
    ‘Cause we believe with hope
    There’s a place where we’ll see your face again.”

    Hope is a promise, and hope never fails.

    Fond memories of Cardigan,
    Connie Van Arnam
    Connor, ’10


    1. Connie,

      Thanks so much for your response. My kids have been wrecked by the Humboldt tragedy – so many connections, and yes, so many old feelings surfacing again. I cringe thinking of all those dear mothers, knowing what they are in for in the weeks, months, and years ahead.

      But HOPE – yes, the only hope there is, the Rock we build our life upon, who never fails.




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