Eventually, death will take us all. He will come with his cold, boney hands and lead us away. None of us can escape him. His piercing eyes see all of us—the happy children playing in the park, the woman cuddling her fresh, new baby, the old man taking his last gasp of air before reaching out for death’s cold grasp. Death knows the prize is his.
Why, then, is he so greedy?
Two weeks ago, a friend of mine collapsed in the locker room of a local rec center. He died before paramedics arrived. He was 41. He has four young children, the youngest being two. I’ve struggled since then, still in denial that he’s dead. I didn’t go to his funeral. I couldn’t make myself go. My own mortality reflected back in my face from the tragedy. They did an autopsy and still have no answers to why he died.
Death cashed in early, took him before his time. Did he really need to take a husband, father, middle school teacher, faithful churchgoer, years before old age set in? And what I wonder is, was one life not enough? Because yesterday I was informed that his wife just found out that she has cancer. His insurance policy is being canceled at the end of the month. She has no idea what she’s going to do. She has had no time to mourn the loss of her mate, and now she is staring down death herself. My head still can’t wrap itself around this information.
My best friend and I had boys two months apart. My son will be turning 21 in a few months. Hers died at the age of twelve. I was at the hospital when he died. He had been diagnosed with ALL (leukemia) only six days previous. I did go to his funeral, and these were some of the thoughts I had. My heart hurts so bad. Why did he have to die? I’m so glad it wasn’t my son! Why do I feel so guilty??
It’s remarkable that I am having some of those same thoughts now. How could this happen? My heart hurts. He can’t be dead. Thank God it wasn’t my husband. Why do I feel so guilty??
My husband has noticed I have been clinging to him the past few weeks. I’ve noticed he’s been holding my hand a little bit too tight. And deep inside I know that both of us are scared. We’ve seen a lot of death in the past few years. Friends, co-workers, and children of friends have died. A big fat reminder that his eyes are on us too.
It’s tragic that death doesn’t come only for the elderly, the people who have lived what they could out of life and are happy for death to lead them into the next grand journey. But life isn’t fair like that. Death is there, lurking, as a reminder to love fully, to care deeply, to forgive quickly, and to live greatly.