We moved last week. Saturday, August 25th, I was in the attic pulling down old Christmas and Easter decorations and had just come inside for a drink when someone called about Ivan's death the night before. It hit Kim hard. It still does. I don't think that other team member's death would have have hit the whole team that hard. Because Ivan was so distant from his father, he belonged to all of us in a sense. A half-dozen people helped Tom put Ivan's bike together, donating parts and labor. Ivan was the boy becoming a man before our eyes. So packing on Saturday seemed pointless. Sunday night there was a ride for Ivan, four laps around the local Jr. College. They passed a hat and raised about 2 grand. I only came to work on Tuesday of last week, spending the rest of the time trying to pack and trying to cope. Wednesday night there was the last weekly crit for our team. All of the proceeds went to Ivan's memory. Some folks donated extra prize money. Normally the A race will return say $50-$60, but folks donated $400, with another $200 for the B race. That got people's attention. So many riders came up and said, "Hey, instead of racing against each other for the prize money that we'll probably donate back, let's race together." Half of the racers wore TBi jerseys and did exactly that. Every prime, and almost every place was won by someone wearing the new jerseys. And you don't usually see that many TBi jerseys in the A race to begin with. Very nice.
Thursday really hurt. Andy Hollinger had asked me to prepare a short prayer, just in case Ivan's pastor was late, so I did. The pastor was there on time though. The kids were over at Grandma's so we were packing like crazy until an hour or so beforehand. Kim got there late with Joseph and Emily. The service was simple: Andy said a few words, Ivan's pastor said a few words and led us in prayer. Then Andy asked for folks to talk about their memories of Ivan. Andy finished by reading some letters that Tom and Bobbye had written about Ivan, and then Lauren Hollinger and Randy Wallis sang Amazing Grace and that was that. It really sank in after that for Joseph. Lots of tears. We took Emily back to Grandma's but Joseph came home with us. He needed to be with us.
So not enough time. Not enough time to move, not enough time to pull ourselves gradually away from our friends on Finian Lane, or the schools. Not enough time to fully grieve for Ivan who did not live long enough for us to know him as well as I wish we could have. I know that Ivan has all of time now. And I don't feel that he's missing out. He's in heaven, and all the earthly joys that we might think he's "missing," going to and finishing school, getting married, having kids, they are but shadows of the joy in the presence of God. They are but smoke, scattered by the wind in comparison to spending eternity with the Almighty. I just wish I had taken more time, been more direct with Ivan, and been further enriched by that.
One story that didn't make the paper: Ivan ran cross country. One girl came up after the service and spoke with Tom. She said that she had also ran CC, and that no one would run with her except Ivan when she was recovering from an injury. When she raced, Ivan would run along the sidelines, encouraging her with a small stuffed monkey that was the team mascot for the entire race. She gave that monkey to Tom. Ivan was that encourager to many. I told Joseph that he needed to be that encourager now.