Tripp Johnson was preparing to make his first communion this spring at Prince of Peace Church in Edgewood.
So were the Macomber siblings — Savannah and Rylee, both 12, and Robert, 9. They were in class with the 7-year-old boy, who was killed March 11 in a 12-car crash on Route 24 in Bel Air.
The Macombers and their parents, Tim Macomber and Melissa Bowlen-Macomber, attended a prayer vigil for their friend Tripp Tuesday night at the church.
“He was a really special friend to me,” said Robert, a second-grader at Deerfield Edgewood School who misses his friend a lot, after the vigil. “He knew what I liked.”
His older sisters are still sad, but a little less each day.
Savannah, a sixth-grader at Edgewood Middle where she’s been talking to the school counselor, said “it’s not great, but getting better.”
Rylee, also in sixth grade, said she’s getting better day by day, and prayer helps a lot.
About 150 people attended the vigil to pray for Tripp and his family.
“We are very much a family here at Prince of Peace. When one of us hurts, we all hurt, and we all want to do something to stop the hurt,” Pastor Jack Ward said. “Tonight, we come together as a family to stop each other’s hurt and offer love and support for Travis, his family.”
Travis Johnson is Tripp’s father. Tripp’s mother, Megan Fulleylove, was seriously injured in the accident and remains at Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, where she underwent surgery on her back Monday and her arm Tuesday.
Tripp’s family is waiting to make funeral arrangements until Fulleylove will be able to attend, Tripp’s family said.
Travis and members of his close-knit family were at Tuesday’s vigil, many crying throughout.
“As you and your family are dealing with an incredibly difficult time in your life, remember Tripp’s body is lost, but the love he has given to you and you to him, is something that will always be here,” Ward said. “There is so much more in the life we live. We give to each other and share our love with each other. It doesn’t die with our body, it lives on.”
He also reminded them that God will be with them, and everyone grieving the loss of Tripp, “even when we don’t see him. God is with us always, even in times of sadness,” Ward said.
Prince of Peace deacon intern Rob McCord, who grew up three houses down from the Johnson family, spoke of St. Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians, where he uses the word encouragement 10 times in five verses.
In Greek, encouragement means consolation, comfort, he said.
“He reminds us it is our duty to encourage and console others of any affliction,” McCord said.
All the questions surrounding Tripp’s death will not be answered, he said, “but God is a maker, not a taker. He creates each one of us. He did not make Tripp to live only seven years. God made him for eternity. He will be missed by the family, but now he’s been put in the household of God.”
A light has gone out, McCord said, but his hope is others will burn bright to help the family.
“Help us bring comfort, encouragement, consolation,” he said.