I’ve been grateful to the number of you who have visited this blog in the past few days to share your tributes and remembrances of Eric Green, the beloved Southborough 12-year-old who died suddenly and far too young last week. I hope this site in some small way has helped us come together as a community to grieve.
But as powerful – and let’s face it convenient – as a virtual community can be, Southborough mother and blogger Meredith O’Brien reminds us the true power of community is when we come together as neighbors, face-to-face and shoulder-to-shoulder. It’s what Southborough did in the wake of Eric’s death.
People came out of their homes, out from behind computers and cell phones and spent time with one another in person. Children hung out and played video games together or watched the Patriots’ game in groups, drawing comfort from merely being in one another’s presence while their parents embraced and tried to console one another, remarking about how rare it is these days for them to just ditch their packed schedules and hang out together. Parent after parent said that this grab-you-by-the-lapels moment which shakes you to your core has taught them that, no matter how insanely busy they are, time with friends, with one another, in the flesh, is important. Checking in on Facebook, while comforting and a useful source of information, was not enough. Not by a long shot.
“I’m really glad we live here,” my daughter said to me the other day. “People really care about one another.”
Out of this tragedy, my children, as well as almost every person with whom I’ve spoken, seemed to have stumbled upon something basic, something that we all too often take for granted in this era of instant digital communications and over-scheduled lives filled with the busy-ness of child-rearing: Being together matters. Community matters. Everything cannot be done via electronic or cellular forms of communication.
Head over to Meredith’s blog, Picket Fence Post, to read her touching reflection in full. It’s a beautiful post, and an important reminder to us all.
(Photo courtesy of Meredith O’Brien)