My first encounter with the aftermath of Death’s visit on my family, (and he had visited before, of course), was my great-grandmother, Della. She was my grandfather’s mother, and I warmed to her. When she was a young woman, she had horses, and many acres of land in Washington. My one memory of her was where she told me about her horses, and her lands. And how she loved to ride them. She died shortly afterwards.

I did not cry, because I didn’t understand my feelings. But I do miss her.

My second brush with death came through a good friend, Summer, who died when we were 14 in an automobile accident. We were too young to understand our own mortality. For years, afterwards, she came to me to hug me in my dreams. She was with the Lord. I knew this, and her hugs were ALWAYS a comfort.

In high school, there was Mike. He died in another accident. A good person. A good friend.

In 1996, my first husband’s father died a sudden and tragic death. I won’t go into the details, but Death was sneaky in his plans that night. It ruined my husband for a long time. He suffered self-blame and depression, and eventually, it destroyed our marriage. I do not blame him anymore. He was grieving. I had no idea about the grieving process then. He needed help, and I couldn’t save him.

In 2001, my grandfather, whom I was very close to, died suddenly from pneumonia. It was devastating to my family, to say the least. We were a tight-knit group, and his death blew us apart. I felt my entire life changed after that. It was very painful.

Shortly after he died, my grandmother died after being diagnosed with spinal cancer in 2002. I was able to say goodbye, and be there at her death. It was just as hard, because a certain part of my life was over, but I survived it.

Death has shown up in my life in many different ways. In the silent whisper of my aged great-grandmother, to the sudden challenge for my grandfathers life. He collected the souls of my friends, in our youth, with swift purpose, and mercifully relieved my father-in-law of a terrible affliction of which he couldn’t shake on his own.

And on May 9th, he showed up at my home, haunting us from afar. I felt him watch me while I waited in my home for Jon to take the girls Mother’s Day shopping. I felt him watching me when I left to grab a late night dinner for the two of us, while our littlest one slept. I felt him watching me as I locked our front door, and I knew something was there. That night, I was spooked. Death watched.

He waited.

In my mind, I can see him waiting, in a dark suit. He’s a gentleman, with a bland face and no scythe. He shows up in beeping ICU rooms, while family members mourn their almost-dead, and he walks into houses where the sleeping breath of the living ushers him in.

He is a secret agent, on orders from The Most High, and although I knew he was there, (and it really spooked me), Jon was ready for his entrance.

Jon was electrified that night, in a way that I couldn’t understand then. I saw it, and it was incomprehensible. Why did Jon act like he was going to jump out of his skin, but was excited about it? I couldn’t tell you. He couldn’t tell me. But he was happy. He was ALIVE. There wasn’t a mean thought in his head, and he was as agreeable as I had ever seen him. In truth, he seemed like Old Jon, before work and family pressures had given him a grumpy edge. I felt like perhaps, we were looking towards a new season together, where all the love we had to put on the shelf would slowly re-integrate back into our lives with a new fervor. Oh what I would wish for.

In the end, Death’s orders were to take Jon at his happiest, when he was sure of the love he had for his daughters, and the affection he held for his wife. There is no doubt in my mind that his last thought was for me, and how much we loved eachother. He was happy to be with me that morning, and looked forward to a day spent with good friends, celebrating new life.

I am no longer afraid of Death. I have looked it in the face, and realized it is simply the messenger, with orders to be carried out. In some, it is a manner of inevitability. In others, it is a matter of the end of time.

I used to have this arrogant philosophy regarding death and its impact on the world. I used to say that “Death is only hard for the living”

Indeed, despite my arrogance, it is true. Living after Death has come knocking on your door is a feat best tackled by the faithful. Those without anything to look forward to have a much harder time in it’s aftermath.

Death will always show up. It’s timing is set divine, and it’s ways are pre-ordered beforehand. Why he chose my husband that morning, isn’t quite fair to me. But I couldn’t have done anything about it anyway.

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