Before April 28, 2017, Carson Dyke could be often found playing with Legos. Two years later, Dyke has passed on, but a love of Legos remains, manifested in the Coppell Middle School West memorial, “Carson’s Corner”, which was officially unveiled on March 22.
Located in the library, in a small niche beneath the stairs, the corner serves as a maker space with Legos for students to play with and create, a tribute to the late Dyke who took his own life at the age of 11.
“My Carson was a huge Lego fan,” Carson’s mother, April Dyke, said. “Our upstairs still has all of the Legos up there. [CMSW Principal Dr. Emily Froese] must’ve known that…she came up with more of the idea of, ‘how do we mesh together him and the love of Legos and just kids being kids’.”
Carson’s Corner was funded by through donations to the Dyke family and fundraisers by the CMSW Student Council, headed by sponsor Christina Malone.
“When we were thinking about designing maker spaces in our library, we had different opportunities for our kids with board games and different robots, and we did have a few Legos at the time,” Dr. Froese said. “We asked the kids what they would want to do in our new space, and they came up with the maker space and the Lego Wall as just sort of an honor to him.”
On top of Carson’s Corner, more good grew from tragedy. After the sudden loss, April and her husband, Jason Dyke, experienced the process of planning and carrying out a funeral. This included dealing with decisions and expenses.
“[The funeral home workers are] going to ask you if you want a lock of hair, they’re going to ask you if you want a thumbprint or fingerprint, they’re going to ask you if you want a spray of flowers,” April said. “We were very pleased [with] how kind they were, but it is a business, and they have to sell you stuff.”
While the Dykes had the Coppell community to provide support and aid, along with their relatives and close friends, they soon learned that this was not the same for other people across the nation. While the Dykes experienced a flood of support when it came things such as food and taking care of the house, some searching online bore no sign of a non-profit organization that would help a grieving family through the entire funeral process.
Thus, Carson’s Village was born.
“We basically help people who’ve had a loss,” Mrs. Dyke said. “It doesn’t have to be sudden, though that’s what it typically is. We help them from the loss to the funeral.”
The non-profit provides numerous services, including deciding specifics of the funeral, aiding in organizing the funeral and creating short biographies, written by Mrs. Dyke. The service is open to all people, free of charge, no matter the age or cause of death. So far, Carson’s Village has helped over 120 people.
“Carson’s Village” comes from the concept of Pakistani villages who come together to care for a family after they lose a loved one. Relating that idea to the general Coppell area is where the name sprung up.
For the Dykes, even with the organization and memorial, the loss is still real.
“It’s just so different to go from a family of five to four,” April said. “It’s huge, you don’t realize. The table you sit at a restaurant is different now, going to Six Flags is different now. I lost all the toys quicker than I thought I was going to. [Coppell High School junior Alex Dyke] graduates next year, [The Sidekick sophomore staff writer Ryan Dyke] the next year, and I’m done. I was supposed to have three more years to have kids in school, and I lost that. It’s just different.”
Despite the pain and sorrow, the Dykes have something to hold onto. In addition to Carson’s Corner, two benches were purchased for the CHS9, which was the previous campus of CMSW, where Carson attended sixth grade.
“I wanted something for Carson that would last, and the Lego Wall is great but his friends are going to be gone, it’s locked up in the library, you can’t just go by and see it,” Mr. Dyke said. “I wanted something if Alex and Ryan in 15, 20 years wanted to bring their kids by and see the bench and be able to touch it, I wanted something outside that they could touch like that.”
The benches will be experienced by Carson’s former sixth grade friends next year. As for this year, they may tinker in his memory during their last year at CMSW.
“After a couple of years, [students] aren’t going to know who he is, and it’s not so much that, but that kids can just be kids,” Mrs. Dyke said. “Sometimes, when school gets tough and you just want to take a little brain break and get creative, and, like I said, be a kid, that’s there for them. Maybe they’re not a strong reader and they’re in the library, they can go over [to Carson’s Corner] and enjoy that piece of the library. I hope it continues. Like I said, the name doesn’t bother me, the meaning of the name may fade, but just the purpose behind the area, I hope remains.”
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