Four weeks, four days

On Friday, April 20, there were two tragic deaths in my community. One, a young twenty-year-old girl, newly admitted to med school and visiting Hungary, full of promise; a volunteer; great parents; a family loved in our community. This girl was good to the core in every way, but she got sick with an infection earlier in the week. She died. She DIED! She was a baby! She was good. She had done no wrong. Why was Ariel Olsen taken?

The other death was a mom, close to my age. She left a daughter, my own daughter’s age — and a cousin to one of my daughter’s friends, without any family. Any. Seriously?!

Somehow my loss seems insignificant. I cannot fathom losing a child. And my greatest fear when I was younger was losing a parent. Being left without either parent is unimaginable.

This is not about me. But I can’t help wondering about how God works. Was Ariel so good that she needed to do no more work on earth? What about her poor parents and all of her family who loved her? What could possibly be the right in this? And, why would a young twenty-three year old be left on her own. By today’s standards that is an independent age, but I couldn’t imagine my own daughter left without anyone.

So here am I. My husband, my soulmate, was 58. Young by death standards, but he was taken at his real prime. He was well known and highly respected. He had “made his mark”. I remember a young friend in his late twenties dying of AIDS and raging at the injustice of not being able to make his mark on the world before his body failed him. Had Ray lived another 15 years, would people still know who he was — how exceptional he was? What about the war vets who endured God knows what to defend our freedom, but as 80-90-year olds were seen only as “old men”, not the valiant young men who gave all of their lives, if not literally but emotionally and are, at best, patronized.

Loss of a loved one is profound, no matter who it happens to our how it happens. Violence, accident, suddenness or lingering pain make no difference.

For me, I think this lesson is about context. It doesn’t lessen my loss or make it any less significant. But it puts it in persecutive and helps me understand the company I keep. Loss, for the young, the less young and the older is no less wounding. I will ponder this.

Advertisements