Emptying the notebook on Box story
CAMPUS CORNER — You’ll come to learn about me that, no matter how long or detailed a story is, there’s always stuff left in the notebook. The case is no different with the story about Austin Box and his family in Friday’s editions of The Oklahoman and on NewsOK.com.
First off, they’re unbelievable people. They’ve been through so, so much. I’ve covered some people dealing with tragedy, but their circumstances are quite unique. It’s a public thing. He died as a result of drug usage, in part related to his football career and injuries. His mom is a high school guidance counselor. His dad is a former college football player who is now an attorney. They’re an incredibly close, loving family. Everything that could is adding up to bring about more sting for the Boxes.
And, yet, they’re so nice and welcoming and warm and hopeful. They fight through every minute, to some extent. But there’s hope evident and prevalent in their Enid home. And I thank them for having me.
What else I noted but couldn’t get in the story …
** There was a picture on the table of Austin and his dad, Craig, from the Cards-Phillies series in May. The family is big on the Cards, thanks to Craig’s mom. The photo was stamped May 16, 2011. After four days together in St. Louis, Austin and Craig returned home to Enid on May 18. Austin was dead less than 24 hours later. That gave me chills, to see that photo. You just don’t know, do you?
** Whitney, the middle child and Austin’s older sister by four years, was one of Austin’s best friends. She said they often communicated solely in movie quotes, their own language. She’s tried to do that with some of Austin’s teammates, but the jokes have fallen flat. “Sometimes I think, ‘Austin would have gotten that.’”
** I was moved when Austin’s mom, Gail, talked about the “club” that the Boxes are now in, despite the fact they didn’t want to join. The family has been contacted by other families who have lost children, sons. Some have offered gifts, such as figurines or necklaces. (Gail was wearing a teardrop necklace as a reminder, she said, that there are no tears in Heaven.)
Those families know one another in ways that no one can understand. They need one another in these times of adversity. “It’s a very unique club. The people understand each other. (She starts whispering) But we don’t want any new members.”
** I was particularly intrigued by the mannerisms of the family members on my two-hour visit to Enid. Gail immediately showed me the letters. I could tell she had coached herself on what she wanted to say, so she could sort of get it out and then move aside, so as to control her emotions. (She still interjected throughout, which I welcomed and wanted. I didn’t want her voice shut out. I appreciated her emotions. It’s only natural.)
Craig was initially reluctant to let his guard down. He had the same tough look in the face as his son did. But he eventually warmed up to show me a lot of the letters and books and gifts – and provide a lot of the material you saw.
Whitney, you could tell, had a bit better peace outwardly than her parents about what has happened. As Gail said, parents simply are not wired to comprehend the death of a child. So, it’s a little bit different dynamic for a daughter, not to say that it’s easier or anything. I appreciated that she still keeps in touch with Austin’s former teammates, particularly the defensive players and especially the linebackers. It’s like whenever those guys think of something they’d like to tell Austin, they tell Whitney. I think that’s great, for everyone.
Message Sent Successfully
Be Sure to Check Out Our Top Headlines
- 21543Oklahoma tornadoes: The 'Big Dog,' the little boy and the hug that triumphs over tragedy
- 10852Oklahoma tornadoes: Woman meets the military officer who shared the clothes off his back
- 8707Oklahoma tornadoes: Thunder reverses the role, takes a turn at cheering on the community
- 8666Finding Addyson – One family's struggle in the Moore tornado
- 8648Hobby Lobby argues case before federal judges
- 7837Blake Shelton's "Healing the Heartland" televised tornado benefit set for Wednesday at Chesapeake Energy Arena
- 7718Story behind the photo: Family members describe desperate search for one another after EF5 twister
- 7246UPDATE: Search continues for boy, 17, missing in Uncle John Creek in Kingfisher
- 6857Oklahoma tornadoes: Sooners bring back some smiles to Sydney Angle's teammates
- 5852Miranda Lambert, Reba McEntire, Vince Gill to join Blake Shelton at "Healing in the Heartland" Oklahoma tornado benefit
Back to share with a friend form.
Add More Recipients