I read my Aunt Nancy's tribute to her stepfather, the only man my mother ever remembered as father. The man I vaguely remember as Grandpa, whom I mostly remember through repeated family stories. He died when I was 8. I wept for the loss of not knowing him better, for missing what could have been beautiful years growing up on Grandpa's Ohio farm.
I came across some maps of the Appalachian and Colorado Trails. Hiking is one of the many adventures that I associate with my dad. We lost him when three of my four children were no older than I when I lost my Grandpa. They will know their Papaw through vague memories and stories repeated. I am sad for them missing what could have been beautiful years growing up on Papaw's West Virginia farm.
And of course, Tim. I can't find words right now.
Since then, there have been been others lost. Some lived full lives, like my Great Aunt Hazel, but far too many others have been tragically early. Yesterday, as the girls and I were going about our normal day, I got the news that a friend had died.
We knew Liz and Ricky before they were married. They were two kids who played on the worship team with Tim at our church in Akron. They married shortly before we moved to West Virginia. We didn't keep in touch, but a few months ago I saw on Facebook that Ricky was sick. He needed a lung transplant. He was younger than Tim. He left four young children, the baby not yet two.
I tried to go about our day. We were on a field trip when I got the news. We had lunch with friends. We ran errands. In every quiet moment my head and heart ached for Liz and for the family. The drive home from Charleston was long and solemn.
This life is fragile. There things here to enjoy and practical things that must be attended. I implore you to enjoy those you love, to put aside petty differences, and cherish the time you have. Yes, I speak to myself here also. Get life insurance and a will, especially if you have young children or debt. Though these things are important, not so much for ourselves, but for those who are left behind, I also know they are all fleeting. They hold no eternal value. They are not life.
Lift up your eyes to the heavens, And look on the earth beneath. For the heavens will vanish away like smoke, The earth will grow old like a garment, And those who dwell in it will die in like manner; But My salvation will be forever, And My righteousness will not be abolished. - Isaiah 51:6