Thursday, June 9, 2011

Losing Your Life- Coach

Sometimes life kicks you in the gut. When a person you admire, respect, love, and enjoy dies, a piece of your own heart goes with them. Sadly, Mitchell's football coach, Mark Barren died from a massive heart attack.

It is all so surreal. Coach B was just at Mitchell's graduation party on Sunday night. They posed together for this photo,neither one realizing it would be the last. Coach attended the party as Mitchell's football coach, his math teacher, his friend, his buddy and his mentor. Mark talked a length with Mitchell's grandparents at the party. He shared stories about Mitchell and expressed his pride and joy in watching Mitchell play football as well as morph into a strong, caring and sensitive man and athlete. I wonder how many other seniors invited him to their parties? I am guessing he came to Mitchell's because he would not have missed it.

Learning of Mark Barren's passing is shocking because Mark was young, in amazing physical condition- Mitchell often said that Coach was in better shape than almost all the guys on the team,and it was obvious. If something like this can happen to Mark Barren, it can happen to anyone. When I think about that in terms that relate to our family, it is even more scary. Mark was younger than Jeff and certainly was more height/weight proportioned.

Mark leaves behind three beautiful children, a first, fourth and seventh grader, along with his wife, Jen. If there is one thing Mitchell can do to ease his own pain, it is to help the Barren kids with their grieving. Sadly, Mitchell knows first hand how it feels to lose a parent. His own mom died when he was in third grade. Hopefully, Mitchell can help them heal, while he helps himself deal with another enormous loss.

Nothing sums up the sadness more than this statement from Mitchell. I lifted this from his facebook status,
"Coach Barren was the kind of guy you wanted to be when you grew up. He was the greatest influence I ever had and I am sure everyone who played football will say the same thing. You were more than just a football coach, you were a life coach. I will never forget you as long as I live and will miss you everyday. I love you coach. RIP. Please everyone say a prayer for coach and his family tonight."

It is with mixed emotions that the Columbus Academy is scheduled to honor the class of 2011 tomorrow at commencement. Not only is this the 100th anniversary of the school, it is the time to celebrate all the glory and hard work it took the class to get this far. There will be a profound loss in the air, there is no doubt that the entire staffand student body will be torn between celebration and grief.

I am hugging my kids and husband a little longer than usual tonight. When something like this shakes you to the core, you find strength and comfort in their arms.

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