Reading articles on the multiple area deaths of young people lately has been heartbreaking. It seems there have been so many tragic accidents.

Yet there is one death that never made the news, his death was quiet and unexplained, we have no answers and no real reason to be in the news. He was a senior at Detroit Lakes High School, yet his obituary never made it in the local paper, nor on the local radio. (Through no fault of their own of course, they have to be made aware somehow.)

However, in my own selfish grief, I want to let everyone know that he lived too and just because we don’t know what happened, doesn’t make his death any less tragic.

My nephew, Clayton James Lehrke, passed away quietly at 18 years old, in his bedroom, the day before we were going to celebrate our family Christmas on Dec. 27.

It was a day like any other, he had gotten up that morning and showered, he argued with his little sister over the remote and lost, and then he never came back upstairs.

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The autopsy gave us no answers and no closure.

To say he was an amazing kid would be selling him short. He overcame obstacles in his life that may not seem like much, but were huge for him. He also struggled. He had autism, he did have a hard time connecting with people sometimes. He just wanted to fit in.

However, he impacted people with his jokes and crazy sense of humor more than he could have ever realized, which, unfortunately became more obvious after he passed.

I want the world to know how much he meant to us, how big of a hole he has left in our families hearts, and the hearts of many who knew him.

Grief is a funny thing, and I want you to know my goal here isn’t sympathy, just recognition of a young life gone too soon. I think the world deserves to know who Clayton was.

From A Heartbroken Aunt.

Amanda Zortman

Little Fork