As I’m getting older, death seems to be staring at me more frequently.
Well maybe not staring, but appearing more frequently on the periphery of my life.
As a child, it was pretty simple. Only old people died, including my two great-grandmothers. Occasionally, a car wreck or other tragedy would take the life of a young person.
As I got to know older members of my church, I started having to go to their funerals after they passed.
Now as my parents are in their seventies, more of their peers are starting to die.
And occasionally, I hear about high school classmates who are departing in their 50s.
Sometimes, I know that death can come as a relief. Someone suffering from a terminal illness may have reached a point where it’s just time to quit living. My college roommate recently made that choice after her breast cancer came back. Although we hadn’t been in touch much recently, news of her death made me remember my college freshmen days and the giddy excitement that comes with being young and away from home at the age of 18. Good grief, looking back that sounds ridiculously young, but at the time, we thought we were so cool and mature. Karen was funny, smart, and a talented artist. Losing her at the age of 52 seems unfair.
This week we are saying goodbye to David Parker, an area native and the founder of Parker-Ashworth Funeral Home. At 68, he also seems to me to be in the “that’s young” category. Of course, young people view anyone older than 40 as, well, old.
David’s obituary reflects a life that seems was lived to its fullest. He was an airplane pilot, business owner, and volunteered for the chamber of commerce and the hospital board. He was able to travel later in life with his wife.
We will miss him in the Kaufman Lions Club.
Death can arrive slowly in the case of a long illness, or it can take a life in the blink of an eye. I have been the witness to more of both as I move into middle age.
It makes me want to hug my boys more often, much to their annoyance, but I tell them that’s too bad, they have to humor their old mom.
The season of Advent has arrived on our church calendar. Amid all of the rush and gifts and parties before Christmas, Advent is a time for reflection and quiet. It stands in defiance of our consumer culture and social media that says we have to do and buy everything right now.
Advent can also be a time to ponder the end of life, as we await the coming of a newborn child.
Thanks for reading.