I had a satisfying, incredibly productive day yesterday.
Back home, I had friends who attended three different funerals. A twenty-two year old, Cameron, whose funeral was held in a performing arts center and had 1,300 people attend – standing room only. A forty-something year old woman, Robin, leaving behind a husband and two young daughters. Someone I vaguely remember whose death did not touch me in quite the same way, but affected many of my friends and family members. And a grandmother, Pixie, someone who I knew years ago, whose kids we hung out with when I wasn’t yet a teenager.
All three taken quite suddenly from this Earth, leaving behind family and friends to grieve and ask why.
I was reflecting on how different my day would have been yesterday had I been back home, and as much as I wish I could have been there, particularly for Cameron’s funeral, I am glad I was here, in my home. I spent time with my kids, baked scones and cookies and bread, made a big pot of hearty lentil soup to greet Mike when he came home from a twelve-hour day.
There have been many weeks like this last one in my life – death seems to come in threes and I’ve seen it happen time and again. This week on Facebook has been full of photos and memories of all three people, some memories I am able to share and others that I can only imagine. My family and friends have been deeply affected by the sudden deaths of three people, the youngest of these perhaps leaving the loudest legacy and most vibrant memories.
We all question the death of young people from time to time. At times their deaths are brought on quite obviously by their chosen lifestyles – drugs, alcohol, etc. In the case of Cameron, he was driving. His seatbelt was on, he hadn’t been drinking. He was a good kid, a senior in university looking at the possibility of pro-baseball in his future. The captain of his university baseball team. He was kind – a report from a local news source said that he was a Big Brother to a young boy with a brain tumour, that he gave of himself so easily.
These are the deaths we question. But in the end, there is usually nothing we could have done to prevent them.
And the truth is that life goes on. Children are born who never knew those who went before them. I think back to my Aunt Fran – my Grandpa Orcutt’s sister – who died nearly ten years ago and never met my husband or my kids. To my Grandma Orcutt, who never got to meet Ben and never will meet the baby I’m carrying, at least not on this Earth. To Mike’s grandpa, who I never even got to meet. I think about my dad’s dad, who is dying of cancer and not expected to live much longer. But life goes on, whether we want it to or not.
And so I’ll go on baking and living and having my babies. Trying to keep the house clean, planning for the future, budgeting and grocery shopping. And others will go as well. That is perhaps the scariest part about going on living – never knowing when someone you love just won’t be there anymore. But all we can do is live our lives to the fullest, and hopefully share God’s love with those around us. Tell people we love them while we have a chance to. Teach our kids about those who went before them and what they did for their loved ones.
Those who go will not be forgotten, at least not in our lifetimes, but eventually we will all be part of history, and all we can do is attempt to leave the right things behind us - love and hope and faith.