Thanksgiving is a time for family, for love, for reflection, and of course for a large, hot meal. It is a holiday in which we take time to appreciate all these blessings and the many more in our lives. Sadly, for one local family, a tragedy marred their Thanksgiving. Their eleven year-old son, Oakley, passed away due to complications of a nut allergy. You can read more about it in the Palm Beach Post here.
I was fortunate enough to coach Oakley in flag football a few months ago. He was well liked and respected by all of his teammates and by his coaches. While I didn’t know him well, he was the type of child I would hope my son will grow to emulate – humble, personable, and full of positive energy. I cannot recall Oakley ever having a negative thing to say about anything or anyone. He truly embodied a life of hope.
Losing him is so far out of the natural order of things that trying to explain it with words seems a vain effort. Rather than that, I would ask that you pray for his family, friends, classmates, and teachers. He touched so many lives in ways he probably didn’t even realize that his loss undoubtedly has left a ripple effect through his community. Pray that God will provide the strength and the courage for those fortunate souls who encountered Oakley to face our grief and come to terms with it. And we pray that Oakley rests in the arms of his Heavenly Father, surrounded by love, peace, and humor.
Oakley, a tremendous athlete, always wore red sneakers in every sport he played. In his memory, the family is in the process of creating a foundation called the Red Sneaker Movement to raise awareness of the danger of nut allergies.