March 18, 2009 Family is the sum total of everything in it—the joys, the sorrows, the births, the deaths, and everything in between. So, when you are part of an extended family the size of ours, you know in your head that there will be some of everything going in any given time frame. Three deaths in as many weeks affecting those we love should not be a surprise.
But it is. We are there right now. Today a niece who grew up right next door and worked with us on the farm buries her 23-year-old daughter. A tumor had sent out tendrils to twine so intricately with vital vessels and nerves that doctors were unable to extricate it, and they lost her. And that does not feel like the natural ebb and flow of life.
Barely more than a week before, another niece who shared birthday parties with one of our kids, had to break the news to her two little girls that their dad had died tragically.
And yesterday Michael left a message saying his buddy Ben had lost either his dad or grandpa—I didn't catch all the details. Ben's parents and grandparents had hosted the two guys and some of their friends for a snowboarding break at Christmastime, so he cared a great deal for them all, and asked us to pray for their family following the heart attack that had so suddenly broken their family circle.
As I said, I know in my head that this is all part of life. But—in my heart—well, that's a different matter.