Why does it oftentimes jolt us into a more focused reality when someone close to us passes away?
Recently my husband and I attended the funeral of a young man whose life was tragically and suddenly taken within a matter of days by a rare and virulent infection. The speed with which this happened coupled with the age of the young man had many of us feeling as if it were surreal – that it simply couldn’t be happening.
Hundreds of people from all over the U.S. traveled to pay their respects and bid farewell to someone who was just finding his stride in life. Answers to why things like this happen are not to be found. All we can hope is that we each find some way to make this meaningful, since it affects all of us and not just the immediate family.
One can only imagine the emotions the parents and siblings were going through and will be for some time. Even I, as a non-family member, found myself feeling pain, denial, anger, compassion, sympathy, a feeble acceptance and lastly – a humility that cannot be described here in words.
Standing there in the church, my thoughts began to hover around my own life experiences. As a parent of a grown child a few years older than the deceased boy, I found myself crying for how grateful I am that my daughter is alive and healthy, shuddering all the while over the many chances she took with her own safety at the same age.
Songs like “Tears in Heaven” and “In the Living Years” spring to mind, reminding me that it is more important than ever to treat (or begin treating) those we love with respect, love and gratitude for being a part of our lives.
Waiting for something to cause that to happen just might leave you wishing you hadn’t, since life’s turns happen quickly.