a friend of mine lost her husband this week. and we’re not in the stage of life where that is supposed to happen.
it kind of feels like the bottom dropped out when someone young like this passes away.
it sounds cruel, but there is less trauma to those of us left behind grieving when the dying is someone older. someone who has moved through many decades and has eaten through the meat of life. we’re able to comfortably say, ‘he lived a good, long life’ and feel like the deceased isn’t missing out on too much and the world isn’t missing out on too much of him.
that is decidedly untrue in this situation.
this is someone in his mid-30’s with a young wife and toddler son. someone who normally would have had a long career ahead of him, many chances to influence the world, to have ups and downs with family and friends, possibly to have more kids. to keep on living for a long time.
but he didn’t.
he did, however, really LIVE in those years he had. maybe especially in the 2 1/2 years since he was diagnosed with advanced stage rectal cancer, he lived well. with humor and joy, even. they as a family lived loudly and boldly and gracefully. i will be forever inspired and amazed at the way they thrived and grew and continued to reach out into the world when it would have been so easy to fold into the pain and fear.
and, let’s be honest, it’s probably a generous platitude when we say of of all old people that they ‘lived a good, long life.’
because i’m sure you know people, as i do, who hardly seem to live at all. who treat life as a burden they have to get through. everything a hassle or an obstacle that weighs them down. no matter how many years of it they get.
and whether a life is ‘good’ is subjective, i’m sure. but universally i think we can agree that someone is doing a good job of this living thing if they are taking care of themselves, being kind and generous to others, maybe even taking care of some others… helping to grant joy? freedoms? truths? comfort? resources? contributing to the world ideas or peace or love or examples of God?
this man, this family did a lot of good for a lot of people. instead of quietly suffering through this horrible disease and its treatments on their own, they gave friends, family, and strangers the gift of their insights, their incredible faith, and their hope. and, in the end, they demonstrated a beautiful ability to let go. to see death not as a failure or a darkness too soon, but as a new door opening with light behind it, a healing, a release into God’s arms.
so even though his life was too short. and i’m certain this family would give a lot to have had more time with him, they can honor him by celebrating the GOOD LIFE that he LIVED while he was here. because he seemed to do a bang up job of it.
if you are interested in donating to this beautiful family or to the causes they hold close to them, please go to: http://errickspringfielddonations.webs.com/