Last Saturday morning I was sitting on the patio with my second cup of coffee reading the Book Review section of the Times when Ed called and told me about Nick Parisot’s tragic death. Ed was at the church and got the call from Nick’s family. We met at the church twenty minutes later to go together to Nick’s parent’s home.
Nick, 13, was a member of this year’s Coming of Age class. He came on the Boston trip last month, and his mother, Kate, was one of our chaperones. Nick loved to ride his motorized trail bike on paths near his house in Wilton, which he and a companion were doing last Friday.
It appears that someone tied a rope across one of the trails he was riding and Nick drove into it – the injury was fatal. His death is, of course, a terrible tragedy.
His life was a joy – he knew how to have fun. But he was also careful. He had a reputation of being a skilled and safe rider. He kept a good balance between fun and caution. The accident wasn’t due to any fault of his. Indeed, it may be the direct result of someone tying that rope across the trail.
Nick loved riding two-wheelers, including the high-front-wheel penny-farthing, the first true bicycle – with it, speed and distance could be achieved in a practical manner. Nick liked going back to basics. He was also learning to ride a unicycle. “He loved simple things,” his dad, Rick, told me. “He wasn’t complicated. He wasn’t competitive. He was the best kid in the world.”
His parents wanted me to know their beloved son better – I had come to know him on the Boston trip, but Nick was a quiet kid. We made a connection, but my meetings with his parents were to help prepare an appropriate memorial service. Clearly his parents, Kate and Rick, are very proud of their beloved son. Now, their pain is unbearable. They will force them-selves through these first days of despair, then they will carry the pain for the rest of their lives, ‘down there where the spirit meets the bone,’ as the poet put it.
We can’t help be reminded of the story of Job. His life is going great, then one day a messenger comes to him and says that all of Job’s children have perished in a great storm. Job says, “For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.” We parents live with Job’s fear however much the mind protects itself from constant awareness of that fear; it’s there. So be it.
In addition to his closeness with his father and mother, Nick had a special relationship with his older sister Michelle, and he had the benefit of grandparents who lived very close by, within a short walk.
Nick had lots of cousins with whom he was close. Kate said, “Nick was the anchor, they all followed him, especially when they were exploring out doors. He had a spiritual connection with nature, and he knew how to live in the moment, and he had lots of things he looked forward to…he went at his own pace, always ready for the next step, but getting the most out of the moment.”
On Monday afternoon we invited Nick’s church school classmates and teachers to come in and share their feelings and memories. It was a tribute to a great kid. He’ll be missed, a lot.