First Posted: 2/18/2015
To the editor,
My name is Nikki Cline, mother of Gage Edwards. I speak on behalf of the Cline, Santoro, and Edwards families. I wish I could write personal thank yous to the literally thousands of people who have been there for us over these last weeks, but I hope this letter will suffice. We would like to say thank you to our community as well as the surrounding communities that have supported and will continue to support us during this devastating time and days to come. We have felt all of your love and support through your presence, prayers, cards, flowers, meals, and donations. Without all of you, we feel certain that what is the most tragic of times would feel much, much worse.
We would like to especially recognize the community of Pilot Mountain, the Surry County School System, and East Surry High School’s faculty, staff, students, and principal, Mrs. Sawyers. We are so grateful that Gage grew up with you.
I knew when we moved here that it was one of the best decisions we have ever made. Even before this tragedy, I watched this small town work together and love one another. I watched everyone come together to support one another through good times and bad and was amazed. I would often think of how different Pilot Mountain was and how lucky we were to be apart of it. Now, luck doesn’t begin to describe it—it is by the grace of God that we ended up here.
I continue to hear what a great job I did raising my son, but I promise I did not do it alone. It takes a village, and Pilot Mountain is my village. Gage loved you all so much. He felt your love and support, and it helped him thrive and become the young man we all know and remember him to be.
I always knew Gage was special. Then again, we all think our children are special. But the impact he had on others, none of us could have ever imagined. This was evident as we counted the 1,522 names signed in the book at Gage’s Celebration of Life, which probably doesn’t even reflect the total turnout. It was evident, as we looked out at all the faces in that football stadium. I knew Gage was a leader, but he didn’t, and that’s the best kind. This community, especially his teachers and coaches, helped him learn this along the way.
From the moment the news spread that Gage had been in a wreck, it felt like time stood still in our community. You all were there or sending your love through others. Although I did not see most of you, I felt your presence. I knew you were all praying with every ounce of energy you had, and he knew it too. This in itself was comforting.
The outpouring of love and compassion has been astounding. We are grieving, and we will continue to grieve, but we know we are not grieving alone. We will try to heal together. Again, we thank you all.