It takes a village, it really does…

Yesterday I visited with a friend that I haven’t seen for a long while, as she lives out of state. She lost her mama and I lost Isaac in the same year. It was good to reconnect and when we parted she said “I’m so sorry Isaac lost you”. What an amazingly loving sentiment that I have never heard before, which reflects so much of this tragedy and the love between us. I could never thank this dear soul enough for her thoughtful condolences. 

Last week I was invited to an informal meeting for an idea some teachers at Isaacs elementary school had about establishing a buddy bench in Isaac’s honor. The idea is for children who need a friend to sit on the bench and for other children to learn how to respond to another’s needs. What an incredible legacy. Isaac was a friend to all as well as an athlete who formed enduring friendships on many benches in his lifetime. The idea of creating a totem that would shine on Isaac’s most endearing qualities, at the place where he grew tall and strong, touches this mama’s heart deeply.

Isaac’s cousin, Jackson, my sweet nephew was invited to participate in creating a presentation to coincide with learning about power point media. His teacher and the teacher who’s idea this was invited me into the classroom today to watch the entire class role play how to use the bench. And then we got to go visit the bench, made by another teachers husband who happened to be one of Isaac’s favorite coaches. I had been sent a photo of the bench– or so i thought! What I have since learned is that I saw a mere thumbnail photo of the sign with Isaac’s name in it. The bench is an utterly beautiful work of craftsmanship and love. 

I’m sorry that Isaac lost all of this amazing community who adored him and saw his beautiful heart and soul and let’s it shine on in their hearts, actions and even in the way future students at his school learn not only about this beloved boy but also how to be a good friend and how to ask for what you need. 

Beautiful beautiful beautiful.
Thank you Lucy Morrow, JD Kittleson, Mrs Higley, Mr Tousley, and everyone involved in this incredible display of what it means to be a community.

Watch these videos!

Jack & Andrew’s power point
Isaac’s Friendship Bench

Published by: christinaryanstoltz

I write to touch the supple center of unguarded ache~ To release myself from the pressure of not knowing how to move forward from the unfathomable loss of my beloved son, my beautiful boy Isaac, to suicide, of not knowing how to release my grip on of the past, both the worshipping of it as well as the beating myself up for it, and letting go of the need to know what I could’ve done or what on earth I will do now. I write to heal.


4 thoughts on “It takes a village, it really does…”

  1. I just can’t. I am so overwhelmed with emotion after reading this. What a beautiful tribute and how wonderful of those teachers for thinking of it. My son is going through some trying times with friends right now and it is heartbreaking. Perhaps a buddy bench at Glen Lake should be in order. Love you so much!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Isaac had many friends at Glen Lake, and many student came to his memorial from there. Perhaps we could say thanks to the GL community with an Isaac buddy bench!?!? I will talk about it with Mrs Morrow and the IJLF board and get back to you! Or else, by all means, do it! The sooner the better, a friend in need, needs a friend indeed…. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, to our community (once again), for finding a way to honor Isaac.
    As an auntie & self-proclaimed number one fan of this young man, I have always believed in his kind, compassionate, “Big Love” heart.
    He was born a life-saver.
    He was born an old soul.
    He had a wisdom, the kind of which few are endowed with.
    I always saw it & believed in it & imagined it to be true, but just like his sweet mama, I wondered if I might not be biased … somehow … 🙂
    Yesterday, when Mama told me about what was happening at the elementary school with the first Shine On Buddy Bench in Isaac’s honor, my heart overflowed with love & with the acknowledgement that comes when you share in the knowing of something, with others.
    From the very first moments after we lost Isaac, I have been amazed at the way that Isaac was “seen”, by so many. Truly, deeply “seen”. Even at the tender age of 18.
    What I have read & heard from strangers, family, teachers, friends, opponents, acquaintances, coaches, neighbors; is essentially the same –
    made you feel like you mattered
    took the time to make sure you were ok
    acknowledged you
    was sweet & thoughtful
    had such a big heart
    had a way of checking in, just when you needed it

    Perhaps it is testament to the kind of soul he was – he almost always brought out the best in others because of what he offered in the intentional interactions he shared.

    When I think about what the Shine On Buddy Bench in Isaac’s honor means (to me at least), I consider the juxtaposition of the reality of Isaac’s life. Isaac was an empath & cared & gave & loved. He also lost his hope, which is something he most certainly would have never let anyone else do. He most certainly would have been there, if ever he noticed or was called on, or was needed. The thing I hope the Shine On Buddy Bench will provide is the opportunity for continued conversation, among all of us, to be mindful that in life, we may find that we have to ask for help. That we may find ourselves hopeless. That whether we are literally on the Frankfort-Elberta Elementary School playground (or elsewhere) & have a bench to sit upon, or are anywhere literally or figuratively in the world, that we can & should ALWAYS, find a buddy, ask for some help, & do our best to Shine On …
    1-800-273-TALK (8255).


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