Woe! It’s Wednesday: In Memoriam

I seem to be posting more memorial posts lately than other musings. Since I’ve taken off a couple of weeks, I have several memories to share.

My uncle Keith. Technically a step-uncle, Uncle Keith was another of the extended family who never made me feel like a step. He welcomed us all into his home and his heart.

His wife, Gloria, passed away a few years ago. I talked about her, here. Like at her memorial service, we commented about how sad that we wait until funerals to gather together. Uncle Keith loved to talk about what was going on in your life, as well as news, science, and faith. His sons talked about the impact he had on their lives. He waged a legal battle that was won in the United Supreme Court. His legacy will live on in his community and his family.

Being in a church that encourages cross-generational connections, I approached Joyce about fourteen years ago and asked if she’d be Monique Thiesen Sawyer's photo.willing to meet with me once a month for mutual encouragement. She agreed and our monthly coffee dates became a sweet time of sharing and support. She fought cancer twice before and beat it. She was an example of a Christian wife and mom and grandmother to me. I miss her already.

And finally, my dear writer friend, Betsy, lost her husband to cancer also. Betsy Fry Hofer's photo.

His service was yesterday and the church was packed. Many stories were shared about Richard and his family. I know Betsy will never stop missing him, but I also know she has an amazing family and support system in place.

Having three deaths in less than two weeks makes one aware of the fleeting nature of time and the lasting impact one person can have that will ripple across the years to touch many other lives.

Keith, Joyce, and Richard’s impact will continue to be felt in my life and the lives of many others. It doesn’t lessen the missing of them any less, but it does bring a small measure of comfort.

Woe! It’s Wednesday: Death, Where is Thy Sting?

As I’ve lost more family and friends in the last few years, I’ve become convinced of several truths.

Death is spiteful.

It wants to rob us of peace.

It’s ugly.

And it’s the great equalizer.

2013-03-29 16.38.33No matter how beloved a person or how despised, how humble or exalted, whether their death is memorialized by the thousands or unknown by more than a few, Death waits for us all.

I took the above picture of Charles Lindbergh’s gravesite on Maui in March of this year.

I’ve wanted to visit the site for several years, which is a bit odd in itself since I’m not one of those people who like to visit cemeteries or collect epitaphs.

I think it’s because I believe there’s more to the Lindberghs’ story. I don’t know much of it, just bits and pieces garnered here and there .

I memorized Psalm 139 a few years ago and my curiosity was piqued when I learned that a portion of it was engraved on Lindbergh’s grave marker.

“If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea …”

It’s fitting, isn’t it? For the man who flew across oceans and ultimately died and chose to be buried across the sea.

But that’s only a portion of the verse.

I memorized a slightly different version.

“If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,               even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”

The fact that the hopeful portion of that verse was omitted from the marker raises all kinds of questions for me.

Did Lindbergh himself choose the verse? Did his wife? Other family members? Did they leave off the rest of it because of cost? Did they know Lindbergh did or didn’t believe the promise?

Ultimately, I know it doesn’t matter to anyone but me if those questions are ever answered. Knowing won’t change anything.

Lindbergh is still dead. Still in heaven or hell.

I do know one thing for sure.

As hateful and spiteful as death is, as a believer in Jesus the Christ, I will experience death of my physical body, but I get to sneer at Satan and his plan to destroy me. I have the hope and the promise from another portion of Psalm 139.

“All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

My days here are numbered. God knows when they began and when they will end.

Heaven has become more dear to me as so many friends and family members move into the mansions.

One day, hopefully not soon, I will get the last laugh at Satan and death. In the meantime, I still hate death. It’s malicious and I can’t wait for the day it will end its reign.

Woe! It’s Wednesday: The Sweet Bye and Bye

Over the last few years I’ve made it a habit to memorialize the friends and family I’ve lost.

Donna was an extended family member, married to a second cousin or first cousin once removed, something like that. I attended her wedding. We attended a few funerals together. I doubt if we exchanged a dozen words. The occasions we were together were big gatherings where it was impossible to talk to everyone.  sunset

But she was dearly loved by people I dearly love. I can only imagine the depth of their pain and grief at her loss. She leaves behind a husband and three young children.

Corinne wasn’t a family member, but she was something maybe even better- she loved us just because. She was a friend and neighbor from our years in Southern California. We lived two doors down from Corinne and her husband Larry. They were dear people who loved on our girls like grandparents. Their actual grandparents lived several hundred miles away but Corinne and Larry could be counted on to cheer for the girls’ accomplishments as enthusiastically as the most loving grandparents.

We kept in touch after we moved away, although it has been a couple of years since our last visit.

Both Donna and Corinne are Christians and I know they are safe and happy and out of pain. Their lives touched many people and we are the better for it.