July 5th, 2012. Already. Who knew summer could sail by so quickly? :-)
I had grand plans for my summer, but they certainly didn't include all of the tragedy and grief that seems to have entered our world in the last little while. Since my grandma's death in April, there have been at least 9 deaths in or related to our church family. A co-worker's cousin (8 years of age) has tumors on her spine and is given a 15% chance of survival, a student's grandmother just found out she has 8 tumors on her brain, a close friend's husband had a stroke last Friday (at the age of 40), another friend texted this week and said that her husband had been laid off, and I'm watching a couple of children for a friend whose husband had a car accident this afternoon and is currently undergoing tests at the ER (incidentally, the motorcyclist that he hit is in critical condition, which greatly increases concerns for charges). This definitely isn't a conclusive list of the "bad" things that have been happening, but you get the drift.
Kaitlynn looked at me a couple of days ago and said, "Mom, it seems like this is the season of death." That is the perspective of an 8-year-old. I, on the other hand, am still trying to figure out what in the world is going on! A sampling of the ages of the deceased: 4 months, 17, 47, 59, 84...death is no respecter of persons.
These weeks have caused some deep introspection, you can be sure. Seeing my grandmother's hat and shoes by the door, as if somehow she would be using them again soon, looking at Jordan's Chair (the symbolic place where the 17-year-old was supposed to be sitting on the last Friday night of church camp), walking into little 4-month-old Cailee's house and seeing her tiny pink clothes in neat stacks here and there, listening to my dad recount the stories of he and his best bud, Steve Russell, who suffered a massive heart attack and died instantly as he was driving to work a couple of weeks ago...all reminders of the uncertainty of life and the finality of death.
I don't know why I'm writing this today, except that my perspective is undergoing a makeover, and the important things are becoming more important than ever. We aren't guaranteed another moment, and that makes me want to grasp every opportunity to hold my loved ones close, whisper words that are hopeful and uplifting, and define my success by living every day for the things that never die.