Today marks the four year anniversary of the death of Alyssa Dix. I am reposting this piece that was originally published on May 30th, 2010 out of respect for her good family. The Dix’s are fine people. I have great respect for each of them.
My confidence in the basic decency of people was renewed at Granbury High School’s Commencement Friday night. I was of course the proud father of a son graduating. But my mind has been on another family for weeks now, as graduation and other senior year events have unfolded. My heart has been with the Dix family.
Alyssa Dix would have graduated with the rest of the class of 2010 from Granbury High School Friday night. She was killed in a car accident in March 2, 2008 only days after her 16th birthday. My officers with the Granbury Police Dept. were profoundly affected by that particular crash. One of my troopers with the Texas Highway Patrol also assisted that afternoon. His heart was touched as well. As I ministered to my officers in the days following that event, I had no idea how the Dix’s would impact my life.
As major events like prom, baccalaureate, and graduation started looming on the horizon in recent weeks, I found myself overwhelmed with sadness and empathy for the Dix’s. How could I send Daniel off to prom all decked out without thinking of them? How could I prepare to deliver a speech to the graduating class without wondering how these events are affecting Alyssa’s precious sisters? Why I am so privileged to watch my child graduate? My empathy bordered on anger. I asked the “why” question more than once.
Last week the Hood County News did a feature story on Alyssa and her family. It was an extremely well done story. It was a story of faith. It was a story of a young lady who genuinely loved God. And it was a story of a family who has chosen to embrace a life of faith and trust in God no matter what happens.
The article gave me some needed perspective. I never dreamed The Hood County News would be a source of spiritual enrichment, but then again you never know! Their faith in God and love for people inspires me. The narrative in the newspaper helped me see things in a different light. I was able to process “senior events” in a more faithful manner.
Friday night at the graduation ceremony the senior members of the Granbury High School Choir gathered on risers for one final time as high school students to sing a song in memory of Alyssa. On the printed program, a blank spot was left where Alyssa’s name would have been placed with an asterisk mark. A fitting comment in her memory was duly footnoted at the bottom of the page.
My officers are just that. They belong to me. God has entrusted me to be their chaplain. It is my responsibility to serve them, pray for them, and occasionally harass them. Sometime this week I have a commencement ceremony program to show a couple of those officers who have come to Love the Dix family just like I have. I probably better do that in the privacy of a patrol car. It will just be one of those moments you know….But when the conversation is over; their confidence in the decency of people will be renewed as well. I am thankful for the leaders at Granbury High School who chose to be respectful and kind to a wonderful family.