This site is dedicated to our dear son Lile
May we all live a little better through his loving memory.
His passion for life will always be with us, we will forever miss him.
(Pictured from left: Lile, Mark, Fenn, Marisa)
Click to view photos of Lile
Lile Mecom Mullins
March 17, 2005 – March 11, 2012
 
 
I’m at that age now, where death is a part of life. When we’re younger, it may or may not be present on a regular basis, but as we age, it becomes part of the landscape. At 60, often times our parents have passed on, and perhaps several of our childhood friends and high school classmates have died as well. The salad days of our youth, when we were green in our understanding of the world, are there no more. The realization that we all are on a shortening journey to the great unknown confronts us in the mirror. When we hear the news of someone’s passing, we are less shocked than we were earlier in our lives because we are familiar with the passing of time and its’ inevitable earthly finality. But still…
Yesterday afternoon, I received a message from a dear friend of mine, Mark Mullins, who lives in Colorado Springs. He and I share a love of all things ancient, and we converse regularly on various aspects of our mutual hobby. Just last month he sent me a picture of his 6-year old son finding his first perfect arrowhead. That he found this on their family ranch was extra special. It was a proud moment for them both, and I could see a transcendent joy in their faces. Artifact hunting for this father and son was the stage upon which they nurtured their love of the wild places, the building of strong family ties through a shared experience, and the esoteric connectedness that is often experienced when finding stone reminders of this land’s prehistory.
His note said simply, “I wanted to let you know that today while our oldest son was surface hunting arrowheads at our ranch in southeastern Colorado, he slipped and hit his head on the rocks. Sadly, he did not make it through the accident. He loved surface hunting and had hunted this site many times before; it was his favorite. He was six years old and loved stone tools and history. Both his pockets were full of flakes and broken points when he died. He was doing exactly what we loved to do the most”.
Although aging gives us a bit of an insight into the cycle of life, there is nothing
that can prepare us for the tragic loss of a young child. I sat stunned as I read his note, tears flowing down my cheeks. How could this happen? Why can things
like this occur to good families who are teaching their children all the right
values, spending time with them, loving them? The answers remain as elusive
as the wind.
Think about this for a moment. A husband who loses a wife is called a widower. A wife who loses a husband is called a widow. Children who lose their parents are called orphans, but there is no term for a parent who loses a child; that’s how horrible it is.
When my children were very young, their mother died. A well-intentioned, but somewhat misguided member of the church we attended tried to comfort them by assuring them that “God needed their mommy in heaven.” My children then had to deal with the notion of a capricious and somewhat jealous God who would rob children of maternal love to suit his own purposes. God didn’t “take” my children’s mother, any more than he caused this 6-year boy to slip and fall. The truth is that we just don’t know why bad things happen. There simply aren’t explanations for the fragility of life.
Children are considered to be gifts, and the child that dies is a gift that parents have been forced to give up. Grieving parents seek to find ways to continue loving, honoring and valuing their child’s life, no matter how short. The grief they experience is overwhelmingly powerful and never fully goes away.
I received another note from my friend early this morning saying that he had placed his son’s favorite book on the child’s pillow, so that the bed wouldn’t seem so empty. His favorite book just happened to be my most recent artifact book which included a picture and brief story about his Dad. Once again a plethora of unanswered questions settled upon my mind like a shroud.
Searching for answers, I came upon this letter from one grieving parent to another. It expresses the profound sorrow of loss, but offers hope as well. “You will always grieve to some extent for your lost child. You will always remember your child and wish beyond wishes that you could smell her smell or hold his weight in your arms. But as time goes on, this wishing will no longer deplete you of the will to live your own life.”
Death is a part of life; of that there is no doubt. We cannot undo it, nor change the whims of nature. We can, however, choose to appreciate those in our lives on a daily basis. We can show our love by being kind, patient, forgiving and always be willing to start fresh each day with a clear slate. In the end our only regrets
will be of the times that we forgot these simple truths.
 
By Tom Westfall and Mark Mullins