The death of a child is always an incomprehensible event, baffling and tragic because it is so seemingly unjust that a life barely begun should be abruptly snatched away. When Steven Levi Wells died July 4 at the pediatric intensive care unit of Johns Hopkins Hospital, after being struck by a car on Greenmount Avenue, he had just celebrated his 9th birthday.
Steven made no news. His name never figured in the accounts of reporters nor the calculations of politicians. The accident that ended his young life was deemed insufficiently newsworthy even to appear in the papers the next day: After all, many little boys in our city are hit by cars.
Yet each of those boys has loved ones for whom he was incomparable and unique. And all those left behind will suffer the same sense of loss described in a letter read at Steven's funeral yesterday:
"It comes a time when we will not be in each other's arms, for life sometimes tests an individual's endurance by way of separation, but separation cannot alter any of the emotions that we shared. For during separation only the physical form is missing.
"Love lingers like the scent of your body; long after you've gone, the scent of your body remains. That's how love works. We may not be together at this moment. But what we shared time cannot touch."