Hope and Comfort
The tragedy at Columbine has obviously placed a mighty burden on the Mauser household. A number
of things have helped us get through it all. Among them are our faith and some very special events that we took
as a sign of hope and comfort.
Our faith in God. We take comfort in the realization that Daniel is in a better place, and that he was immediately
comforted in God's arms. He will surely be the first to greet us when we enter the gates of heaven.
Amazing Signs of Comfort
At the vigil: Two days before Daniel's funeral, a vigil was held
at St. Francis Cabrini Church for Daniel, Kelly Fleming and Matt Kechter. Different people voluntarily came forward
to informally eulogize the three victims. Unrehearsed. Particularly amazing was Daniel's sister Christie, who
spoke with strength about the last time she saw Daniel on April 20. She told everyone how on that morning, as
he left for school, Daniel told Christie he loved her. Christie said she knew Daniel loved her, but added that
as a teen he never said it--except of course at a special time like Christmas!
At the funeral: The day of Daniel's funeral (April 25) was the
same day a huge public memorial ceremony was held near Clement Park. It was yet another cloudy day with intermittent
rain, like so many others at the time of the tragedy.
The funeral Mass was held at 5:15 that evening, jointly with that of victim Kelly Fleming. When
we entered the church, it was not raining. Just as the Mass began, the rain came. Near the end of the Mass, the
two caskets were moved from one part of the church to another for the final prayers. Suddenly the rain stopped
and the sun broke through and shone brightly through a window onto the two caskets. One could not help but be touched
by the sight of that bright light on the caskets.
On the burial procession: The next day was yet another cloudy
one. We were taken 20 miles away to Mt. Olivet Cemetery for Daniel's burial. As we drove along Colorado highway
C-470, a four-lane freeway on Denver's western edge, we noticed a herd of deer peering at us from a small field
near the east side of the road, at a time and location that were rather unusual. To us they were clearly a wonderful
sign of comfort, and representative of Daniel's gentlenessand were .
At the burial: As we drove to the cemetery, it was cloudy, with
no sign of the sun. When we arrived at Mt. Olivet, the sun broke through and shone brightly on the burial ceremony.
It seemed that most of the rest of Denver was still denied the sun. Another wonderful sign of comfort!
Again two years later: On the second anniversary of the Columbine
tragedy, Linda and I found ourselves traveling to Daniel's grave-something we've simply not done many times because
of the painful memories.
As we traveled the long drive up highway C-470, I remarked to Linda that I had forgotten to look along the highway
to see if there were any deer along the highway like on that day we buried Daniel. (See story above.) We were
already near the end of C-470, far past the place we saw the deer on that amazing day in 1999.
But Linda said she had been watching-unfortunately, she didn't
see any deer. Then, a short distance later, as we were taking the ramp onto Interstate 70 at the base of Green
Mountain, we suddenly saw a large herd of deer just yards from the highway! There was just a thin sliver of open
space, very close to a large housing subdivision. Just not the time or place you'd expect to see them. Once again
we felt so very moved by what we thought was another clear sign of comfort!
When we arrived at the cemetery, we were blessed again! The weather was supposed to be fairly nice that morning,
but instead it became very cloudy and unsettled. But after we arrived at Daniel's grave, the clouds broke for
just a while and gave us a bit of wonderful sunshine. Just as happened the day we buried Daniel!
It was all very touching. We feel that God was telling us to not worry about Daniel.
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