good grief

Two more funerals last week - plus the passing of Sister Monson and the (seemingly) perfect 6-week-old baby of a family friend - and once again I am thinking about life, death and grief, and what it's all about.

I tell myself that eventually I'll be desensitized to it all.  None of these recent funerals were for family members, most of them for people I didn't even know.  But I am still, always, touched by the love expressed, by the hand of God evident in each person's life.

I often think back to my college studies, my "history of the family in Europe" class where I struggled to wrap my brain around infant mortality rates and low life expectancy of people through the centuries.  Some historians rationalize that these people didn't become as attached to their children as we do, knowing they would probably die young.  Marriages ended in death just as quickly as modern-day do in divorce.  They were lucky to survive each winter ... we vacation in Mexico.  Maybe they didn't allow themselves to love as much or as deeply as we do.  It seems perfectly logical.

My heart tells me something different, though.  My mother heart is different than my college heart - and it keeps changing and breaking.  It tells me that people who are often thinking about death might love even more fiercely, more deliberately.  They might not get caught up in the little things. They might see beauty in grief and loss, in companionship and love, in every single day.  They might realize sooner that we are here for each other.

They might be more conscious of who and what they leave behind.  They might make sure that it's extraordinary.


Linnea said...

K, did you ever read Madeleine L'Engle as a child? In Troubling a Star the main character grapples with this some - the idea of intimacy and allowing ourselves to love others. She talks about how they think people didn't allow themselves to be so attached to children in the past, but how she can't really believe that either. I love A Ring of Endless Light even more, lots in there about death too. Vicky is an interesting heroine.

Our cousin's baby just passed away this last weekend, only 10 days old. I've been thinking a lot about death as well, and what is truly important to spend my time and energy on.

I don't ever want to become desensitized to it.

Jean said...

Leia?! Favorite childhood author! I wrote her a letter in 6th grade. Those two books are probably the only ones I DIDN'T read, but now I want to.

Danielle said...

Love this post. That's all I have to say.

Linnea said...

No way!!

I've for real been going through and reading all the books by her that I didn't read as a child - she wrote a lot I didn't know about.

Have you read House Like a Lotus or Camilla? I really enjoyed both of those here recently - she really tackles some deeper issues for juvenile literature.

Can we have a L'Engle book club...?

Jean said...

Yes! L'Engle book club! I'm sure there are actually lots that I missed or didn't know about. I have the Wrinkle in Time quintet sitting on my shelf. I need to re-read them all. Let's do it for real.