My mother would have been eighty-eight on Friday.
I knew a friend was not doing well. We had become friends, online. Like so many, we never met, but corresponded on a daily basis. She and her husband were going to visit me in Ruidoso, but her shattered lungs would not allow it. I knew she wasn’t doing well, when, one evening, James, her husband called. She could hold on, no longer. Of course James was crushed. We’ve become good friends. Then, a few years later, he was the one to call to tell me that one of my best friends and my editor, was gone. He had told no one about his battle with cancer.
I’m tired of people I care about dying. As I write this, I should be doing other thing, but I’m watching Billy Graham’s funeral. I’ve shed a tear, not about the great man’s death, but the passage of time, and what I’ve so selfishly lost. Until October 18,2014, when my father died, I’d lived a very blessed life, with only the usual loss, due to old age. I don’t mind admitting I still mourn my grandfather Froehlich. I suspect I always will. I don’t know if it is because his death was the first that truly affected me, or it was the first real loss.
A few years ago, a very nice man, our realtor died quite suddenly. He was watching the late night news, a mutual friend having had dinner with he and his family. My friend left his house maybe an hour before Keith died. His sudden death almost shattered my friend. I learned then, there will be a loss of someone that is shattering you. I never understood until a few months ago when someone I’d never really met, but whom I’d corresponded lost a battle with a long illness. The loss had shaken me to the core. Yes, this person died knowing Christ, but that’s not, selfishly, helping me. It’s like Keith was a devout Christian. I pray for our mutual friend.
The worst occurred a few years ago when my cousin’s only child died, tragically, just days before his thirtieth birthday. Michael and Rita will never recover. Why should they? We should not require them to do so. Adam died knowing Christ. I don’t know if that offers comfort to them. What I do know is that, just a few months ago Rita lost her father. A few weeks ago her mother followed him home. Rita is my hero. She has been through so very much, emerging triumphant. I don’t know anyone who had gone through what she has, with such grace. She had.
I watch the wife of a colleague bravely going about her brave new world. I learned something from Rita. She said after Adam died, people would not mention his name, not wanting to hurt she and Michael. They wanted to talk about him, to remember him. This is what my friend is constantly writing, about her husband.
Three weeks ago, I lost another colleague. This one, too was quite sudden. His loss has left us all shocked. He’s my age. He had the flu, then pneumonia. I’d been messaging him about something, just two days before his death. Then – he was gone. He was one of those people I relied on for prayer. Then Bob Matson was called home.
I’m tired of it. I’m tired of people dying. It hurts. It’s a selfish hurt. It reminds us how unfair life truly is. Once again I’m crying. During this funeral they are doing a song my mother had mentioned she had wanted at a funeral.
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, all fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives!