″Inseparable” Brothers Buried Together
MADISONVILLE, Ky. (AP) _ From the time they were babies, Chad and Adam Bates dressed alike and shared secrets and birthday cakes. The young brothers were buried side by side Thursday after drowning in an icy pond on their parents’ farm.
Family, friends and classmates from the Roman Catholic elementary school just down the road wept quietly as Bill Bates leaned over the small, white twin caskets to kiss his dark-haired boys goodbye.
″There are many parents the nation over, I am sure, who would like to be able to extend their sympathy to you,″ the Rev. John Meredith told Bates and his wife, Vicky.
″Adam and Chad were truly gifts,″ Meredith told the mourners who filled Christ the King Church.
″It is not how long the blossom lasts,″ Meredith said. ″It’s whether we loved it before it’s gone. And we certainly can say we did love these boys.″
Chad, 9, and Adam, 7, who were born 13 months apart, were out of school Monday because of icy roads in western Kentucky. They drowned after being in the pond about 35 minutes, authorities said.
Mrs. Bates said in an interview Wednesday she believes Adam, whose orange cap was found lying near a small hole on the pond, fell into the icy waters while trying to skate on its surface and that Chad tried to save him.
Chad died late Monday afternoon at Madisonville’s Regional Medical Center, where his mother is an intensive care nurse. Adam, who would have turned 8 on Friday, died about 11 hours later.
″Everything Chad did Adam did,″ Mrs. Bates said. ″They had always been together. They always were together.″
On Wednesday, she and her husband sat together in the living room of their well-kept farmhouse looking at photograph albums filled with the boys’ pictures. A stepsister, Christa McCormick, 13, sat beside her mother, and a relative comforted 3-month-old Jacob in a room nearby.
There were pictures of Adam and Chad on the soccer team their father coached, and photographs of the two in Halloween costumes. One picture showed Adam watching as a proud Chad posed with his first pulled tooth.
″Adam wanted to lose a tooth after Chad lost one,″ Bates said. ″I remember Adam pulled and pushed, trying to lose a tooth so he would be like Chad.″
Mrs. Bates recalled putting candles at different ends of the same birthday cake for several years until the boys got bigger and demanded separate ones.
She dressed them alike until this past year, when each began asserting his own individuality.
″They were about as close as brothers could get,″ said Bates. ″If Chad had a hamburger he would give Adam half of it.″
It was Bates who went looking for his sons Monday after they failed to answer their mother’s call. He said that 15 minutes earlier they had been playing near the barn where he was working.
Bates jumped into the pond after spotting Adams’ cap. Mrs. Bates rushed to the pond to find her husband up to his chin in the cold water, frantically searching for their boys.
″He was breaking the ice with his elbows,″ she said.
Emergency rescue workers pulled the boys from the pond.
Mrs. Bates said she takes some comfort from knowing her sons are together.
″I know those little guys are arm in arm somewhere,″ she said.