Christian was dying. He had lived a good life, done his best to align his will with that of his Father, and he was ready to go Home. Surrounded by praying loved ones, he quoted 1 Corinthians: "Death, where is thy sting?" With that, he closed his eyes, and breathed his last.
"My sting?" Death questioned gently as he took Christian by the hand, "Oh, it's still around, though you will not be experiencing it." Christian was slightly perplexed. "If the dying are not touched, then who is?"
Death smiled sympathetically as he answered, "Those left behind. They will feel it when they look at your easy chair, and you are not there. They will feel it at the ocean, where you loved to vacation. They will feel it when that song you always cranked up suddenly plays on the radio. They will feel it on those major life milestones where the whole family celebrates as one. They will feel it on your birthday, the day everyone would gather together to celebrate you."
"There will be times where your absence practically feels palpable, suggesting almost more presence than when you were alive. Other times, it will be a dull twinge in the heart of your loved ones, trying their best to carry on. It is here that my sting is strongest, in those quiet moments, where everyday life flows along, only with a piece missing, leaving a hole that simply cannot be repaired."
This past year was one which brought with it unexpected heartache, and there are holes in my life that will never be filled. Sure, the deaths of loved ones, especially when unexpected, can be a good reminder to contemplate how fragile and ephemeral life really is, but it is a hard thing none the less. My kitchen is full of things which cause that dull twinge to flare up, and there is rarely a day that goes by that I do not remember that certain people are gone from my life, never to return. Life is not the same without you.
Dedicated to all those I have lost, most particularly:
Uncle Scott (November 2013) - one of my favorite uncles, kind, funny, generous, hardworking, one of the best.
Grammy (July 2013) - I should have called her more, kept in touch better, I'm reminded of it every time I look out the kitchen window, where the horse sun catcher she made hangs.
Uncle Frankie (Summer 2011) - Nearly every chicken thing I have in my kitchen is from him, he was so generous, and though we didn't get to see him a lot, he was a favorite.
Grampa (Winter 2010) - Gigi - Papa - while I did not know them well, they were/are still family, and there will always be a vacancy as a result of their passing.
Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.
May their souls, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.