Archive for March 21st, 2008

Funeral of Silas O’Brien

Friday, March 21st, 2008

I have been to funerals that were full of despair, and I have been to funerals that were full of hope and joyful celebration. Silas O’Brien, a young victim of road rage, had the latter type of funeral yesterday.

SURREY, B.C. — In a clear, strong voice, the mother of a young man mowed down in an apparent road rage incident sang a song she wrote in his memory at his packed funeral Thursday.

About 1,200 people gathered at the Cloverdale Bibleway Church in a remarkable outpouring of joy, song and celebration to mark the life of Silas O’Brien, who police say was killed when a truck charged at him and his two friends. His friends escaped.

The spacious church was filled almost an hour before the service and drew people from the Fraser Valley and Washington State.

The aura of strong faith in the face of terrible tragedy permeated the entire service that was marked not by uncontrollable weeping and crushing grief, but by soaring hymns, articulate speakers and an unshakable feeling that Silas O’Brien was in a better place.

Full story here.

A video clip (approx 8 minutes long) of his mother singing is here.

I note that the news story doesn’t mention any calls for revenge against the driver who killed Silas. In a world where the news is dominated by stories of hatred and violence, it is good to see a family and community respond to a wrongful death with this kind of grace.

UPDATE:  The Globe & Mail has an opinion piece about forgiveness that mentions both the parents of Silas O’Brien and the families of the Amish schoolchildren who were murdered in 2006.  Read it here.