We tell one another that we have no guarantees for the future. We don’t know who will live to be 100, who will die before retirement, and who may die tomorrow. Life is filled with uncertainty.
This was brought home to me rather graphically this week. My wife Sharon has a number of friends she’s stayed in touch with ever since childhood, and she naturally cherishes her relationships with these people.
Monday, she received a terse email from one of these friends she’s known since they were in the fifth grade—close to 60 years ago. All the email said was, “My daughter died.”
Such a cryptic message with no explanation included seemed strange enough to us we thought it was probably a hoax. The daughter in question was in her early forties and, so far as anyone knew, in excellent health. She wasn’t a drug user or a clinically depressed suicide candidate. My first thought was to ignore the message, but Sharon called her friend and asked if she’d just sent an email.
Turns out her daughter actually had died Monday morning. It was a complete shock to everyone, including the lady’s daughter, who found her. The girl called her grandmother first, then her grandfather and finally 911.
An event such as this makes you stop and think about your own loved ones. I cannot possibly imagine what it would do to me to receive such news about my own daughter, but I know I’d be devastated. Even though this young lady, like my daughter, is a Christian and is now in heaven with Jesus, the thought of having something like this happen to my daughter—or to her husband or kids or my stepson or his wife—is beyond my ability to consider.
As I thought about the family of this young lady, I remembered how my older sister lost her oldest child some 20 years ago and how my mother lost my younger sister 18 years ago and my little brother 10 years ago. Yes, we’ve had sad occasions like this in my family, but it’s still unthinkable, the grief unimaginable.
An autopsy showed this woman had an unknown and undiagnosed heart condition which, presumably, was the cause of her death. That’s certainly better than learning she was an addict who had overdosed or that she was so depressed she committed suicide. But it’s still a horrific loss to her family.
She leaves behind a husband and two children. I don’t know their ages, but they’re both in school. Her loss also deprives the family of her income as a school teacher. Her widower must now face raising his children by himself with about half the income he’s accustomed to having.
An event such as this makes me want to drive 200 miles to hug my daughter—and my son-in-law and my grandsons, along with my stepson and daughter-in-law. I need them to know I love them. I know they all realize that, but it still makes me want to go reassure them and to see their faces and hear their voices.
Don’t take your loved ones for granted. Thank God for every day you have them to share in your life.
What traumatic losses have you suffered? How have you dealt with them?
For more information about David N. Walker, click the “About” tab above.
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Contact him at dnwalkertx (at) gmail (dot) com or tweet him at @davidnwalkertx.