Every morning, as most of us do, I scroll through my Facebook news feed and catch a glimpse into the life of each of my family and friends. Some things are joyous – some are heart wrenching. The one thing that each of these posts has in common is that the glimpse was intentional. It was a moment in time that your friend or family member wanted to share with the world.

On Friday night, I noticed several of my friends and family were reacting to the photo of a preteen boy with big blue eyes next to the word “Obituary.” I didn’t immediately recognize the young man but I clicked. As a mom, my heart aches when I see any child whose life was cut short.

The obituary read that this seventh grader had a zest for life. He loved animals, music, playing ice hockey, riding his hoverboard, being outdoors, waterskiing, and spending time with his friends and family. It also stated that he attended Castle North Middle School which is only a couple of miles from my home.

His blue eyes sparkled brightest when was surrounded by others, and his contagious smile and sweet spirit blessed anyone who knew him.

Brody Lofton, of Newburgh, IN, passed away on Thursday afternoon. I clicked through to see his family. Newburgh isn’t that big of a town and there was a good chance that I might know them. When I saw his mom, I immediately recognized her. We have similar grocery shopping schedules. I’ve seen her going in multiple times when I came out, struggling to contain my small child from running directly into oncoming traffic. She’d always smile as if to say, I get it. I always figured she was a mom too.

Now, learning that one of her two sons had passed, my heart completely broke for her. My heart broke for the countless classmates and friends who lost their companion. Middle school is, by far, one of the most challenging experiences we all have to go through. Your body is changing, relationships become more than fighting over toys, and the world’s issues become your issues when you hit that age. How does a person caught between childhood and adulthood process these new and very real feelings? How does a preteen deal with losing their classmate – even their best friend? Sometimes life can be overwhelming. I’ve been there – we all have.

Though I didn’t know this young man or his family personally, I have seen first-hand the impact he had on the community. His memorial service was filled with happy memories and a sanctuary full of both love and grief over his passing.

It leaves me with the perspective that someday you might be connected in an unexpected way to that stranger at the grocery store so treat everyone with grace. It also reminds me to love my child, even through the toughest of times, because life is fleeting.

Though the author is unknown, the quote, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle,” resonates more today than ever before. Sometimes we can’t understand what others are thinking and feeling because we only see those small intentional glimpses into their lives.

My personal thoughts and prayers go out to Brody, his friends, and family.

and call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me -Psalms 50:15

Memorial contributions may be made to the Brock Lofton Education Fund at any First Security Bank. Friends are also honoring Brody by selling t-shirts. The money raised from the t-shirts will be all donated to the Lofton family who approved the design. The shirts are $10 and would be in by Thursday. The numbers 50 and 15 stand for psalms 50:15 "and call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me." Contact Jaye Collier to order a shirt.