I know it's just a bizarre coincidence but this is the right piece to be working on today. Last night I went to the wake service and then,this morning at 11am, I will be attending the funeral Mass of one of my former Confirmation students. A gentle giant, an honor student, a quiet and somewhat introspective 16 year old boy who committed suicide last week. For a while, we were all hoping he had simply run away. He hadn't left a note and had taken a taxi down to NYC. But his destination, 178th Street was problematic since it is within walking distance of the George Washington Bridge. He was found in the Hudson River but it took two days to identify him. The young have so little perspective: one has to wonder what heart ache was so very great that he preferred death to life. I haven't talked to him in over two years but I have seen him at Mass occasionally with his mother and his sister. I remember him as a michievious little boy, a fifth grader who snagged a sandwich for himself and one for his kid sister from a platter that wasn't actually "unwrapped" yet. But he became very serious as a teenager. I remember his slow smile, all the more precious for being so rare. I remember him as a 9th grader, one year older than all the others in his Confirmation class, a bit sheepish about being bigger than all the other kids, especially his diminutive younger sister who was in the same class. I recall seeing him bussing tables at a local restaurant owned by his older brother, giving my husband and I a shy nod of recognition. I remember his mother proudly telling me about how he encouraged and inspired her to go back to school for her R.N. certification. The wake was difficult, as is any wake for a young person. I think I have mentioned every so often that I am the sort of person who operates more from the head than the heart. So to be embraced by the grieving mother who then burst into tears was a shock. All I could do was stroke her back and murmur that I was so sorry for her loss, and listen to her broken sentences about her baby boy who had promised to be with her forever. I knelt before the closed coffin to say the Lord's Prayer and when finished, found myself murmuring the Guardian Angel's Prayer, a favorite childhood prayer of mine, for a boy who was no doubt being guided even now to peace and serenity before the Throne. May God grant him eternal peace, the peace he clearly did not have here. And may God grant those of us left behind the wisdom to recognize and help others like him. And, still, I wonder what drove him to the G. Washington Bridge and the cold Hudson River below.