A friend from grad school died less than two week ago. She had completed her doctoral degree last year and had moved to Washington, D.C. with her fiancé early this spring to start the job she always wanted. Ten days before she collapsed, she had given birth to their beautiful daughter.
A church family member and motherly figure to me and my husband died last night. She had retired from a long career in education a couple of years ago and had just stepped down as the senior lay leader of our parish a few weeks ago. When she hit her head and fainted last night, she had been working on old documents and photos at the church office.
Death is just so inconvenient. My young friend was starting a family and embarking on an exciting new career. She came to Washington to make a difference, to continue the work with refugees and immigrants she had started in Nebraska. My church mother was working on our archives and learning to master her new computer in order to catalogue and safeguard our parish family’s history as we celebrate our centennial and plan for the next hundred years.
The death of both women have painfully disrupted and rudely upended the lives of their family and friends. Daily routine has been derailed, long term plans canceled. Those of us who grieve go about in a haze, hearts profoundly heavy, trying our best to get through the day.
But at a memorial service for my grad school buddy a couple of days ago, we smiled amidst tears as we remembered how our friend supported and cheered us on as she struggled with her own research and thesis. Last night as my husband and I consoled each other over the loss of our beloved sister, we recalled how she regaled us with her stories and lifted us with her hearty and infectious laugh. I wanted nothing more then than a slice of her lard-laden sweet potato bread.
Death IS inconvenient. It forces us to stop. It also gives us the chance to think back, celebrate and be comforted by the love and lives of the ones we lost. Farewell sisters and thank you.
Image by George Gozum.