This morning I woke up and prepared for my day. A day just like all of the rest, driving the girls to school, going to work at the store, soccer games and rowing practice. The hustle and bustle of every day life. However, today is not just like all of the others. Our community and lives have changed forever. My heart is heavy today as it grieves for the Botten family whose 16 year old son passed away yesterday afternoon.
For those of you who live here, you know that the Snoqualmie Valley is a small community. Not so small that you know everyone by name, but small enough that when something tragic happens it affects the entire community. This is what has happened this week.
Cody was a junior at Mount Si High School. He was loved by all of his peers. My oldest daughter, Megan, was friends with both Cody and his older brother Trey. She loved Cody's sense of humor, and she said that his smile would light up the hallways at school. When the news broke that Cody was on life support and that the prognosis wasn't good - it spread like wildfire via text messaging and Facebook. His friends and peers came together to support one another and to pray for his recovery. For me, just the thought of these teenagers losing their friend, and this family losing their son, brother, nephew and grandchild was absolutely gut wrenching.
On Monday morning I drove Madeleine (my freshman daughter) to school. As we pulled into the parking lot at the high school - the windows of the cars parked there had messages of support, love and prayers for Cody. "Stay strong Cody!", "We love you Cody!" It brought goose bumps to my skin and tears to my eyes. Our children aren't supposed to learn how fragile life is - with the loss of a friend or a loved one. Parents aren't supposed to outlive their children.
The way in which the students and community came together in support of Cody, his family and one another was unlike anything I have ever experienced. On Tuesday at school practically the entire student body wore red shirts with Cody's initials on them in his honor. They prayed for his recovery, supported one another as they cried - and most of all they wished that this was just an awful nightmare that they would wake up from. My heart breaks for each of them as they face the loss of their dear friend.
On Tuesday evening as I turned off the lights and locked the door to my store - there was a long line of cars inching down the street to attend a candle light vigil at the park around the corner. Hundreds of his friends, fellow classmates, neighbors and members of our community joined together for this ceremony to pray for Cody and his family. The glow from the soccer field was absolutely beautiful and the love and support was unlike anything I have ever witnessed before.
On Wednesday, the students at Mount Si wore blue and white in Cody's honor. His two favorite colors. The news from the prior day wasn't good - and they all wished and prayed for a miracle. At 5:30pm the news began to spread that their dear beloved Cody had passed away. My daughter Megan was at the store when she saw Trey's status change on Facebook. She had tears in her eyes. As I read Trey's emotional message tears came to my eyes and the sadness of this tragedy hit me.
I wanted to hug my husband and kids and tell them how much I loved them. I wanted to tell my daughters to make good choices - and be careful when they aren't under our watchful eye. I wanted to tell them that the material things in life won't make them happy, it is the close relationships we have with each other that will bring true happiness. I wanted to tell them to be kind to one another. This made me want to live life better and not take things for granted.
Hug your loved ones and tell them how much you care. Enjoy the experiences you have with one another. These are the things that create true joy.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the Botten family as they face the loss of their son, brother, grandchild and nephew. Rest in peace dear Cody.