Norman: Small town comes together to share pain of loss
Last month, a tragedy took place in our little town of Glen Rose. A local family of five lost two members in a car accident late one night in March — a brother and sister in their early 20s. It shook our small town to the core because we all know in a close-knit community like ours, that just as easily could have been us.
The Brewer family has a little eatery/boutique on the Town Square called “Sugarbiscuits and Company”. We all know with a name like that, it’s bound to be good. Though I haven’t eaten there yet, the wife has and occasionally brought home a delicious casserole for the both of us to share. Should the family choose to reopen, we’ll both be going there to support this family. And we won’t be going alone.
When the word got out through social media, Facebook, phone calls, and word-of-mouth of the accident, I think those of us in Glen Rose and Somervell County felt a collective punch to the stomach. It certainly made me want to hold my wife, my two grown kids, and the grandkids all the more frequently and more tightly.
There was an impromptu prayer vigil set up that next day on the Glen Rose square and courthouse grounds. When we heard about the gathering, we felt a prompting to attend, so as to let the family know we were aware of their loss, and we care and we share in their sorrow. We were certainly not alone. There must have been close to 100 people assembled in a loose circle outside the courthouse to express their support and offer condolences.
No formal ceremony planned, it was just neighbors, friends, acquaintances and even strangers coming together in community unity in this time of heartache for the Brewers. People just stepped out of the crowd to offer prayers or a few words of consolation. A couple of times a local pastor approached the family and shared a scripture verse and hopeful words of sentiment we all embraced.
Someone had the foresight to bring a box of facial tissues and placed that in the center of the gathering. With most of us shedding tears throughout, there was no shame in stepping forward for a tissue. Later, the mom, dad and surviving brother moved toward the center and we all circled around them, laid hands (and extending hands) on them and prayed… heartfelt prayers that touched our very souls.
Then one young lady began singing “Amazing Grace” and within 15 seconds, this spontaneous “Glen Rose Community Choir” joined in, and somehow our spirits were lifted. We felt a common sense of loss and spiritual release and slight comfort as we sang in unison: “When we’ve been there 10,000 years... we’ve no less days ...” The mom pulled in her restaurant workers together with outstretched arms, and I heard her say to these five or six young ladies, “You are my family now.” With nodding heads, they all agreed and felt a calling to be just that.
How special it was to witness the turnout on such a short notice. It was truly love in action — a demonstration of loving one’s neighbors as themselves. I love living in a small town where we can more easily do something like this, and this manifestation of caring and sharing in the Brewer family’s grief made us all feel a little better about being here. Even the tears helped us feel a little better.
Charlie Norman has lived in Somervell County since 1994. He and his wife have two adult children, who graduated from Glen Rose schools. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.