Earlier this week I posted the obituary of my former German professor, colleague and friend, Edith Long. Today I am shocked to have to tell you about the death of her son Paul on the way home from his mom's funeral. I am saddened beyond words.
With all the news coverage of Hurricane Ike yesterday and today, what would have been a huge news story - the horrible train crash in the Los Angeles area - has been pushed to the background. Paul, Karen, and Devin Long flew back home yesterday (Friday) after several days with Paul's family here in Greenville. Paul told me after the graveside service that he was dreading having to connect through Dallas with all the news about the storm expected to go through there. As far as I know, they got through Dallas fine. However, our Lord had it in His plan that they would be aboard the Metrolink commuter train involved in yesterday's collision. Karen and Devin each suffered minor injuries, but Paul suffered severe head trauma that resulted in his death this afternoon. Paul's sister Gail sent me a link this afternoon to an article in the NY Times about the crash. Paul's son Devin was interviewed shortly after the accident yesterday and quoted in the article. I put the link further down in this blog post, but the article has changed in the last hour, maybe with the news of Paul's death. Here's what was in the original article:
"Witnesses described a scene of instant terror. Devin Long, 16, was sitting in the middle car with his parents when the trains collided. "There was a great big jerk," he said. "I heard what sounded like a bunch of cars colliding, like a multicar crash. Both my parents went flying. Next thing I knew, I was on the floor between the exit doors." Mr. Long was thrown from his seat, but remained conscious.
His father, Paul Long, 56, lay unconscious but breathing by the stairwell to the second level of the double-decker car. His mother, Karen Long, 55, was injured but alert, he said. “When I saw the condition Dad was in, I sort of freaked out,” he said. “Mom was trying to communicate with Dad. I turned around and saw all the seat cushions tossed about the car. There was blood everywhere. People had cuts on their heads and faces, legs; they had many injuries.”
You may read whatever form the article now has by clicking here .
Paul was three years behind me in college, but through his mom, he and I got to know each other while I was in college and he was still in high school. We shared a very similar sense of humor. Paul was a long-time reader of my e-mails and my blog, and he sent me quite a bit of humor and even some more reflective types of things. Whenever he and his family came to Greenville to visit, we would have lunch together.
Please pray for his wife Karen and son Devin, as well as Paul's three siblings and their families. They have not even had time to begin to process Edith's homegoing and are in total shock about Paul's sudden departure for heaven. We're all reeling from the shocking suddenness of this all, but we're comforted by the knowledge that our Lord has not lost control - this was all in His loving plan for us all.
Today, I'm going to post the last thing my friend Paul sent to me. At the beginning of his e-mail he said, "Unfortunately, I remember most of these!"
Things you don't hear anymore...
Be sure to refill the ice trays - we're going to have company after while.
Watch for the postman - I want to get this letter to Aunt Mary in the mail today.
Quit slamming the screen door when you are on your way out!
Put a dish towel over the cake so the flies won't get on it.
You boys stay close by - the car may not start and I will need you to help push it off.
There's a dollar in my purse. Get 5 gallons of gas when you go to town.
It's getting hot. Open the back door and see if we can get a breeze through here.
Don't forget to wind the clock before you go to bed.
Why can't you remember to roll up your pant legs? Getting them caught in the bicycle chain so many times is tearing them up.
You have torn the knees out of that pair of pants so many times there is nothing left to put a patch on.
Don't you go outside with your good school clothes on!
Be sure and pour the cream off the top of the milk when you open the new bottle.
If you pull that stunt again, I'm going to wear you out!
Get out from under the sewing machine; bumping it messes up the thread!
That dog is NOT coming in this house! I don't care how cold it is out there, dogs just don't come in the house.
Wash your feet before you go to bed. They are nasty from playing outside all day barefooted.
Take that empty bottle to the store with you so you won't have to pay a deposit on another one.
Quit jumping on the floor! I have a cake in the oven and you are going to make it fall if you don't quit!
Let me know when the Fuller Brush man comes by - I need to get a few things from him.
You can walk to the store; it won't hurt you to get some exercise.
Don't sit too close to the TV. It's hard on your eyes.
Go out to the well and draw a bucket of water so I can wash dishes.
It is time for your system to get cleaned out. I am going to give you a dose of castor oil tonight.
If you get a spanking in school and I find out about it, you'll get another one when you get home.
Quit crossing your eyes! They will get stuck that way!
"He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Jim Elliot
"So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom." Psalm 90:12