While my daughter's graduation ceremony was wrapping up last weekend, another ceremony was taking place for some family friends.
They were listening to the eulogy for their son, stabbed to death at an unauthorized but organized camping bash by current and former students of a Regina high school.
Misha was 19. As he was being fatally stabbed, a friend who tried to intervene was stabbed more than 20 times. His friend made it, but Misha was dead at the scene.
Canadians talk about how safe our society is, but knives and alcohol -- usually in combination -- are the cause of death in a disheartening number of cases. I used to think of knives as weapons that were past their time. Something from a fifties movie. But statistics and news reports regularly remind me that knives are still very much a weapon of choice.
When I heard the news I found myself wanting to reach out, both to Misha's family and to my own. You really don't know what 's coming tomorrow, so you have to seize today and live it fully.
There is something forever deadening about the death of a child -- your child. People who have been through it talk about the gaping void that takes up permanent residence in their being. Time eases the sharpness of the pain, but the emptiness never fully goes away.
I try not to be obvious about it, but I've been spending more time hanging out in the kids' rooms this week. Sometimes talking. Sometimes just sitting there, savouring what I have. And as I eat a little bit less and exercise a little bit more, that too is a result of the jarring reminder we all received last week of how precious but fragile life is.
I don't have any pithy words of wisdom on this subject. Just an ache for our friends, and for the young man who we won't see grow into an adult.