Our little community of Ninilchik, Alaska, is saddened by the death of one of our local teens in a four wheeler accident on the beach this past weekend. A boy with a history of trying to find his place. A boy being raised by a village, known by many and understood by few.
A few weeks ago I saw Peter in the general store. I’d not seen him for a while and this boy we’d all known for years had begun to look like a man. “That little shit is getting more handsome, I’ll never keep Mya away from him now…” I thought to myself. And those who knew Peter understand this mom’s thoughts and are smiling right now as you read. Admit it, if you’ve daughters, you’ve thought it too.
This was a boy with a history like my own kids. A boy who I was so busy keeping away from my daughters…that I forgot… he was exactly like my sons.
This is a boy who, on the sixth grade camping trip across the bay, looked right at me…put his arm around my Mya’s shoulders and grinned with that “whatcha gonna do now, mamma?” look on his face. So I raised my camera too late and missed the shot…only to capture this casual stance from this boy with many faces…one moment devious…one moment eager to be accepted. So like my own.
Now gone, at barely fifteen with no chance to prove to the world that he could become the man we all wanted him to be. This boy who when things went wrong, all heads turned to…and yet who stole the hearts of teachers and moms for twenty miles around who saw a soul inside him, eager to be loved.
And so this week his beloved grandmother, his aunts, uncles and cousins, and those who stepped-up, struggle to plan a memorial for a boy with a continual smile, a joy for life and a love for those who surrounded him with their arms when he needed them the most.
EDITED: I posted a version of this blog about six hours ago in hopes of gaining donations towards a memorial of some kind. Thanks to the incredible generosity of readers of this page, the cost of Peters service has been covered! What an amazing act of generosity! I’m overwhelmed. His family and friends thank you!