Roland passed on to glory after being shot while breaking up a fight.
Later on that morning after tossing and turning I tried to complete some work and my younger son wakes up and I have to tell him that his uncle, who he recently spent time with was no longer here. My child just looked at me and out of nowhere my other son appears in my room and says, "Let's go to church." I hurried because I knew this was urgent for him, hard for him. The rest of the day we all stayed together. After church we were so worn, so drained. Still in shock. Numb.
What we knew, if we knew nothing else, was that we would be in Beckley for the upcoming weekend. It has a weekend both emotional and beautiful. I'm trying to see what pulled at my heart so much. Roland was my 23 year old brother-in-law. People just simply loved him. When we first met it was like meeting a friend of my son's and his smile simply lit up wherever he went. I knew that I had to celebrate his life with family. I knew I had to worship God for giving this young man a good life, as was shown by the outpouring of love and support.
The tears I shed are for the senseless death. The pain he may have suffered. The life yet to live. The journey abruptly ending. The pastor at Heart of God Ministries (Beckley, WV) shared with us that the last time he saw Roland he was at the church sitting in the choir stand. I believe the lives of so many young people in that city are going to turn around because of Roland's passing. Even though it doesn't feel right we know that all things work together.
It was hard for those who loved and knew Roland to say goodbye but it was beautiful knowing that Roland is where many of us strive to be. Resting in our Father's arms.