“Let me tell you a secret about a father’s love, a secret that my daddy said was just between us; he said daddies don’t just love their children every now and then, it’s a love without end, amen.” – George Strait
Rarely does a tragedy bring a city to its collective knees like the unthinkable, unimaginable death of Ollie Wiedemann last Friday. While I’ve never met John or Ollie Wiedemann, I find the well-described love between them to be the kind of love God not only intended dads and sons to have, but the kind of love that never ends … even when one of those lives is so mercilessly taken.
Much has been expressed in the past eight days about the horrors associated with the killing of a child, especially when the one doing the killing is mom and that it happened in our own backyard, so to speak. For me, however, and for no other reason than it isn’t comprehendible, I’m not interested in or even willing to focus on the person responsible. Hate serves no purpose and I can’t understand such an act, anyway. I do pray for her family and that they can find comfort at the feet of the loving, gracious God of this universe. If we ever had doubts about the power of mental illness and its manifestations on those inflicted with it, we need not look further than this abominable act. As well, we’d all be better served by less histrionics on what mentally sick people use to abide their demons and more on what can be done to abolish those demons altogether.
I admire what I’ve learned about John Wiedemann. His expressive unconditional love for a little boy who was, is and always will be the centerpiece of his life has been clear. I recall vividly when both of my boys were Ollie’s age – an age when imaginations of being a superhero, thinking your dad was already one and having a dad-son bond stronger than physical death could ever break was the most vibrant part of life. A dad with primary custody is uncommon in America yet John and Ollie benefitted from such a scenario and I find myself happy about that. I’m not sure why exactly, but John and Ollie remind me of a sitcom Baby Boomers will remember from the early ‘70s, “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father”, in which the relationship of a dad and his young son was front and center. Although funny, what I recall most is the bond between that dad and son in a simpler, safer, softer time in America.
My prayer is that no parent ever experience the death of a child. In a perfect world, parents would go first after having lived a full life. The only perfect place I know of though is the one that awaits those who live life according to God’s design and who recognize the amazing gift of His grace. This life isn’t our home but rather, in the grand scheme, a place for a short visit in a society struggling to find its way. While nothing but maybe time will ease the penetrating, breathtaking pierce of Ollie’s death, we along with John can be certain Ollie is with his creator now – a creator who has deep affection and love for children. Because of that love, Ollie today is safe, happy, full of joy, playing freely and waiting for his superhero to come home.
My hope, and I’m willing to put the energy of the Sun behind it, is that we – Waxahachie – find a way to forever honor Ollie. Whether a physical memorial or a special place, it’s my belief that this excruciating experience for John, Ollie’s extended family and all of Waxahachie can morph into something that brings comfort and solace to anyone in pain, especially the kind of pain that permeates the heart. Ollie is not only worthy of such an honor for the beautiful little boy he was, so is the loving young man he was certain to become.
And we can’t let that love end.
Scott Brooks is the Publisher of the Waxahachie Sun and President of Upward Media Group. Contact Scott at email@example.com or 972-316-7712.