LOCK HAVEN-"Something has been broken and seems it will never be whole again-"
This was spoken as hundreds of candles flickered in the wind, the rain, the wavering flames like timid hope at Tuesday night's candlelight vigil for Joshua Fourney, 19, of Mill Hall; Bryce Allen, 19, of Blanchard; and Damien Major, 19, of Lock Haven.
They were in a one-car crash early Tuesday morning on Fairpoint Road in Bald Eagle Township. Joshua died. Bryce and Damien were seriously hurt.
Some of their closest friends huddled for a photo. First row, from left: Zach Donley, Anthony Bittner, Kristen Hinds, Alyssa Boring, Zakk Ohl, Tierney Clark. Back row: Taylor Shirk, Bill Powers and Damion Gingery.
"-but one day, we hope... the broken will be made whole," Father Joseph Orr of Holy Spirit Parish said.
When I first arrived at the vigil, I watched teenagers embrace, their figures muddled behind my rain-fogged windshield, their tears mingling with the coursing rain.
As Orr spoke, I stood by Josh's parents, Jennifer and Denny Fourney, his family, his friends, enveloped by their sorrow-pierced eyes.
A torrent of emotions rose as the sun descended, ripping loose with the sky.
I saw the blue eyes of despair, the backdrop a rose and gold sunset...
the stolid, removed bitterness setting in on some...
the crushing load of sorrow on the quivering lips of others...
the grief-crumpled faces of many...
the sound of sobbing with the flick of lighters...
puffs of cigarette smoke, hugs, wet hoodies...
and the mother, as she leaned her head against the solid pole of her translucent umbrella lit by the setting sun.
"We are who we love," Orr said. "Part of you died with Joshua-" and here, with the world spinning on, came a guttural sob from his mother, a sound surpassing language, a sound that said it is a pain only a mother can know.
"-and part of you is with Bryce and Damien in Geisinger, urging them to hold on to life and to come back."
"Lord God, the world has been rent asunder by this terrible tragedy," he said as daylight fought with darkness, the storm wrestled with calm.
"I invite you to turn your hearts to whatever God you might believe in... to bring him to a place of light and peace, beyond the darkness of this world."
The crowd murmured The Lord's Prayer together, followed by silence where only the wind spoke.
As the crowd began to disperse, Jennifer, Josh's mom, clasped Orr's hand, saying, "This is amazing, just amazing... I know (Josh) is watching."
The vigil was organized on Facebook by Lindsey Houtz and word spread quickly throughout the community.
Bailey Aungst, 16, is Bryce's cousin and was at the vigil.
"Bryce's brother told me at 3 a.m. what happened and I rushed to the hospital," she said.
Kristen Hinds, 19, is friends with all three and graduated with Josh and Damien.
"Words can't even describe" what she was feeling, she said.
Who was Josh?
"Josh was definitely a happy person, a free spirit," Kristen said.
Nicole Phillips, 21, dated Josh for two years.
"He jumped without looking," Nicole said. "He loved kayaking, fishing, hunting... riding bikes, micro-sprints." She was amazed at how many people came to the vigil, just organized that day through Facebook.
Orr said someone called him that afternoon to say a few words. He thought they might need someone on a night like this.
People lingered in small groups, clinging to one another for support, wondering how the same sun could possibly come up on such a different world tomorrow.