Death is a frightening and weird thing. You think you understand it, but when it hits you, you realize how confusing it is. Why? How? You mean she is just…. gone?
It’s unfair. It’s luck of the draw. It’s the short end of the stick.
Sometimes it strike when you least expect it. It strikes when you haven’t had a chance to say goodbye. It strikes when you are just going about your day, minding your business and planning for the future. And suddenly in the blink of an eye, everything has changed.
This is the third time that death has visited my life. Dying is a hard concept, but I’ve come to understand that there are two types of death. Both are still painful and difficult, but the unexpected death is a feeling like no other.
When I was 17 my Grandpa died. He was 87. Although it was still painful and sad to see him go, he had a good life and it was time. Yes it was heart breaking to see him in a casket at his funeral and it’s still hard to see my Grandma without him. Sometimes even hearing his name still chokes me up…but that is the expected type of death. We had time to say goodbye. We had time to start understanding it. His story was written and finished.
Then there’s the other type of death…
When I was 22 my coworker and friend was killed in a car accident. My friend was only 20 years old. This was the first time in my life that I had felt a pain like that. It was the first time I was so blindly hit by death that I couldn’t even comprehend it. It still takes my breath away to think about her.
Now at age 26, I have been hit again by unexpected death. A college peer was killed in a car crash on Sunday night. It was December 27. Two days after Christmas. Four days before a brand new year. A year she never made it to and it breaks my heart. She was only 24 years old. She was young, happy and stunningly beautiful. Even now I still cannot grasp the concept that she is gone. In the blink of an eye her life, her dreams and her future were gone.
Yesterday evening I left work in a foggy haze. I drove home in the dark, raining splattering against the car windows. Worn out Christmas music lingered on the radio in the background. I couldn’t shake the feeling of how unfair it was and how death is a random gambling act. You never know when it will strike and no one is safe from it. I kept thinking of myself in her shoes. I lived to see another day. I made it home safe and she didn’t. If it was me in her shoes and I met God on Sunday night I would argue “But I’m not done yet! Please send me back God! There’s so much I still want to do. You didn’t give me enough time!” And at these thoughts I began to cry. At first it was just a tear, but as I watched the rain hit my front windshield, my tears came faster. She wasn’t done yet. She still had so much life to live…
I got home that night and told my husband that I just wanted to sit there and talk about how dark and cruel the world is. But he said “No. That’s why these things happen. To remind us to LIVE and to be happy that we are alive.”
I took a shower and poured myself a glass of wine. I sat on the couch for a long time not saying anything. I just sat there with all my feelings, trying to make sense of life and death.
I went to bed last night feeling strange. I held my husband tighter and closer than normal and I said my prayers just a little slower than usual.
This morning I woke up, my chest and heart still stinging from the shock and pain. But I was alive. I got another chance this morning. God chose to give me more time today. I don’t know how much longer I have left in this world. No one does. I pray that I have a long time and I hope that I get to do all the things I have planned for my future. I hope I get to go to Europe with my husband. I hope I get to hold a newborn baby in my arms and know that it is mine. I hope I get to spend many more Christmases with my family. I hope I get to spend more time laughing with my friends. I hope I get to go to sleep next to my husband for many more nights. I hope I get more time to pray and thank God for all that I have.
I don’t understand why death strikes the way it does. I am still confused by the unexpected death. All I know is that I truly believe that the most beautiful souls in this world don’t last long. That’s why they always say that the good die young.
“I will not be fearful of death. I love and treasure life too much. Death is simply just part of it.”