A Familiar Refrain


Photo credit: ToniVC

The online article said that the young man swerved to avoid hitting a dead bear in the middle of the highway and lost control of his car. He plunged off  the road into some trees…and entered eternity.

He was 24 years old.

This young man attended the same homeschooling co-op my children did. None of us knew him personally but we were remotely acquainted with his mother and some of his younger siblings.

My heart broke when I received this sad email. His mother’s smiling face filled my mind and I could not begin to fathom her searing pain. This is every parent’s worst nightmare and I felt my breath constrict as tears filled my eyes.

This world is broken.

One morning a son gets up to go to work and is gone from this earth less than an hour later.

A link to his Facebook page revealed a young man with a wide smile and laughing eyes. Photo after photo showed him in the midst of groups of friends hiking, swimming, enjoying parties and family get-togethers. Heartbroken friends left messages on his wall that he would never read.

My son just got his driver’s license. The first night he was out alone a nasty storm blew through. He texted me when he was leaving and then an hour passed. That was one of the longest hours of my life. The garage door opening was the sweetest sound and I hugged him tight when he walked through the door. For just a moment, I longed for the days when he was little and I decided where he went.

That night was a reminder for me that any control we think we have is an illusion. Our children were created by God and they are ultimately His. He knows the days ordained for them (just as He does for you and me). They are His gifts to us, on loan for a time.

On a brilliantly beautiful autumn day while one mother buried her son, I awoke to the sound of mine playing his saxophone. My daughter giggled on the phone with a girlfriend. Our family attended a neighborhood party together and ended the day sitting by the fireplace and watching a comedy. The day was ordinary but beautiful in its simplicity. My heart overflowed with gratitude for another day, another chance to love big and smile wide and hug tight.

Our daughter has been truly shaken by this turn of events. She told Doug and I this afternoon that she doesn’t want to live with regrets, that she doesn’t want to leave anything unsaid between her and her loved ones. She will turn 15 this week. I am grateful that she has such a wise perspective at such a tender age.

I say this on this blog all the time but it bears repeating: treasure your loved ones. 

Let all the silly stuff go.

Keep short accounts.

Forgive easily.

Laugh often.

Make sure they know how much you love them and why.

Celebrate their strengths.

Show mercy.

Pray for them.

Love with all your heart.

Remember that this life is a vapor compared to eternity.

None of us are promised tomorrow.

The song is ended but the melody lingers on. —Irving Berlin

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3 Comments

Filed under Friends and Family

3 responses to “A Familiar Refrain

  1. The Elaine

    I feel the same way. Elisa’s family is going through a very tragic time. Her cousin died on Friday, apparently of a drug overdose. A beautiful girl!. My heart breaks for those she has left behind. I just don’t understand this drug thing.

  2. Su Geiger

    Thank you for this reminder to treasure the moments with our loved ones…even the most ordinary moments…

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