Friday, March 18, 2011

On Death and Dying

"I thought you were dead! But then I thought I was dead myself! Is everything sad going to come untrue?" (Lord of the Rings)...  The answer of Christianity to that question is - yes. Everything sad is going to come untrue and it will somehow be greater for having once been broken and lost.
                                                                                                           (The Reason for God, Keller, p33)

My dad called me yesterday to tell me a police chase that ended in downtown Waynesboro made the local news in Lancaster. I had no idea...
I drove into town minutes after he called, noticing the reside on the road, the sand, the cover for the debris of an accident. I still didn't know...
I sat down in an easy chair at my in-law's house, picking up Colson. Did you hear about the police chase? flippantly...
and then I found out that someone had been killed in that police chase. An innocent victim, the mother of nine, a friend of Delton's aunt, a woman I had met only one time, just weeks ago. Judy.
...and I am haunted by her death, by the loss, by the hurt caused by the action of another. And I am glad that I met her, glad that I have a face to go along with a name, even if meeting her, even briefly, has made my sorrow deeper.
I have been paging through a scrapbook filled with photos of my life, a gift from my mom. I see pictures of my last bridal shower, and I think Sylvia left early because it was too painful for her to sit.
I see pictures of those who attended my wedding and I remember Sylvia  found out that week that she had bone cancer.
M-Tec pictures from that year remind me...Sylvia died that day.
My mom gave birth to my youngest sister the night before my family moved. I spent moving day in the new kitchen, organizing, directing, stepping in and doing what my mom would have done had she been there. But she wasn't, and the burden fell to the shoulders of my sibings and I.
At the end of that long day, with the house in order, I started upstairs, and made it only halfway. I sat down on a step, and realized I didn't have the energy to go any further. My resources, both emotional and physical, had been emptied as I stepped into the void created by the absence of my mom...
and I think about the children left behind, who are dealing with the raw grief of losing their mother...and I think about the times they will be unable to make it up the stairs fully, and of the times, eventually, when they will climb the steps easily.