My wife and I are back from Hawaii and are with family to mourn the loss of our 8 year-old nephew, Roger Goetsch, who was struck by a tractor on his farm. Roger, who loved being with his father and loved riding in the tractor with him, was killed when he attempted to jump onto his father's tractor. His father was looking back and to the right to steer an attached bailer into position, and didn't see his son who was trying to get in on the left side of the tractor and in front of his father. Roger had fallen and was crushed by one of the front wheels of the tractor. He was killed instantly.
I really don't know what to say in this space. What I can say that does not seem trivial compared to what his family is going through? My family and I are devastated by Roger's passing. His father, Bill, is a good, hard-working family man and we are devastated knowing that he will forever replay the entire series of events that unfolded. But this was a purely random, terrible accident at which no-one is at fault, and we feel horrible.
Bill, Roger's mother Rose, sister Sarah, and brother William have a hard road ahead of them. But I know how close they are and how closely-knit the extended family is, and I know everyone will help each other cope.
On our end, my wife and I had a terrible time trying to get flight arrangements back from Hawaii, and it was very frustrating at times. But the frustration quickly changed to guilt knowing that we were experiencing a minor inconvenience, one that would pass. How trivial our frustrations were compared to the death of a child, especially under these circumstances.
As parents, my wife and I have some "unique" parenting to do since our boys had spent nearly the entire day and the previous day playing with Roger and William. More importantly, right before the accident happened, the four boys were playing hide-and-seek near the tractor, and when Roger heard his father start the tractor, he ran off for a ride. While my boys did not see the accident happen, I'm sure they saw the immediate aftermath and I know they saw the resuscitation scene unfold. Today they seem OK, but it really bothered me that I couldn't be with them right away and to answer their questions.
But now we are home, and the healing has begun.
Roger, you will be forever young in my memory. Goodbye.
Updates: Thank you Stephen.