Today was a humbling and emotional day.

I was at church when I received a phone call from a friend. It was unusual that she would be calling at that time and I wrote it off as an accidental dial. She then sent a text informing me of a very serious accident that Hunter’s good friend was involved in. His body had been burned 50% and he was in a medically induced coma – and would be for the next 2 months or so.

My heart sank and I rushed out of the class to return the phone call and to find Steve. I never gained my composure to reenter the class, instead, I found a classroom and waited for Hunter to be done with his class.

I had no clue how to break news like this to a kid, but we pulled him aside and told him what had happened. His eyes were blank as he processed everything. I think he could tell the severity of the situation by the tears in our eyes more than what we were saying. He doesn’t know what a medically induced coma is. We had to explain that he wouldn’t be in his class in two weeks when school starts. He wouldn’t playing soccer this fall. He won’t be having a birthday party in three weeks. Even typing this now still gets me choked up. Hunter has been choked up all day.

You feel so helpless – it’s hard to know how to help in situations like this. Yes, we’ll bring meals in. Yes, we can help with kids. But that doesn’t even put a dent in what they’re struggling with right now. I just want to take the pain. How can I shoulder their burden?

We decided today we needed to mourn with those that mourn. So this afternoon, we took Hunter to the hospital with us. We were hoping to catch the parents in the waiting room to show our love and support and we did just that. We cried together and we laughed together. We talked about the road ahead and we talked about so many great times our boys have had.

We also had the opportunity to go into the hospital room, which we weren’t planning on. One of the doctors suggested that his friends and family see him so they understand what he’s going through and so they can see him progress and not be scared of him. We prepped Hunter for what he would see by showing him pictures of bandaged patients.

Hunter did okay at first, he was quiet as he took everything in. We were told to talk with his friend as if he was awake. I started talking and then I turned to Hunter to talk. But his emotions were overwhelming and he couldn’t get a word out. It was hard for him to see one of his very best friends in an unrecognizable condition – so swollen and covered head to toe.

I could imagine the questions circling in his head. When is he coming back to class? Will he be able to play football? Is he going to look the same? And then as he broke down I could see the realization in Hunter that his friend was going to miss out on a lot for a while. He’ll miss playing sports, pool parties, book club, night games…his road is going to be long. And all Hunter wants is his buddy back.

We’ve reminded Hunter several times today that even though he can’t play right now and do things he used to, he needs his friends. And although they may not be able to help him much at this point, in the next couple months he’s going to need his buddies more than ever before.

Underneath all those bandages his friend is still there – he just needs to time to heal. Hunter has committed to being by his side.

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