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One of the things we Catholics are encouraged to do during the first 8 days on November is to visit a cemetery and pray in hopes of gaining a plenary indulgence for one of the faithfully departed. I did this on a couple of occasions. I was struck and deeply moved when I saw a tombstone belonging to a young man who died in 2008 about 2 week's shy of his 17th birthday.

His name was Christian. We also had a son named Christian who died. Our Christian died on the day he was born. It was 10 years earlier, in 1998.

The full name of this young man is something I will not disclose but I looked it up. He was well beloved. He was a player on his high school baseball team and was coach of the little league team. He was, according to the many comments, a person who was a joy to be around- a person with an infectious smile. He also was the 2nd son his parents had lost. The first was named Justin and died on the day he was born, like our Christian was.

I saw numerous articles but they all seemed to be the same words. He died suddenly on November 1st, 2008. All saints Day as it happens. The comments indicate that he was a very active, happy and exuberant young man but there are no details on how he died. The profile would seem to exclude suicide because he seemed to have a lot to live for. It would also seem to exclude illness because of his activity. Car accident? I guess we will never know.

What I have been able to find out is that his loss was sudden and it was devastating to his family and friends. One tombstone with a story. How many more?

Judging by the ages of some, their deaths couldn't have been a shock but did they leave a hole nonetheless? How many of these people died alone and forgotten? How many more of them were forgotten after they died?

I said a few prayers in Adoration for Christian so I could be sure he is not forgotten. Maybe one day, someone will look at my stone and pray for me. Maybe that day will be sooner than I expect.

I suppose this is why we Catholics do this. RIP Christian. Momento Mori for the rest of us.


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