I can't explain why it happens like this, but in the past three weeks or so I have the death of someone I know in my life happen. I hear "things come in 3's" well, unforunately I can list 4 that have left earth. And, because each life is of such important worth, let me briefly tell you who each one was...
Beverly - a lovely, southern woman and devoted wife, mother, grandmother to her family and to our church. Think sweet? That was Beverly.
Ann Marie - my best girlfriend's younger sister, taken at age 50, with a new husband and a beautiful daughter. A long timer county 911 operator who saved countless lives on her job.
Carl - a fellow band mate with the PI Community Band, and sometimes fill-in director. He spent his whole career as a music teacher and band director.
Gary - he hits home the hardest. An amazing husband, father, and doting grandfather. Full of life til the moment he died on 9/11 (his wife's birthday.) A funny man and a deeply caring and devoted man to his faith and to all those around him. He was our one daughter's Confirmation sponsor. I was his daughter's. We shared many meals together - as neighbors, golfing friends, church buddies, and more. Many discussions. Deep discussions - about life after, about whats happens to people when they don't believe. He worried about others' souls.
I know Gary, Beverly, Ann Marie, and Carl are all at peace. They died different ways. Most rather suddenly, so for their sake it was a blessing.
But, certainly not for us still walking around who knew them and will notice the huge hole they left behind.
Their deaths in a row certainly highlight to me how each of us has such a limited time on earth to make a difference, to love, to enjoy each day, to work for the betterment of this place we all call home.
I have always been a believer in life after death. I believe Jesus conquered death and rose again... to show us that there is heaven. There is more. There is a loving, caring God. And, because I do believe I have always wondered how connected we stay with those who are "on the other side." I had my mother come to me in a dream a week after she died. I have heard similar stories from others. Really, I don't know if it's because we WANT it, or we NEED assurance, or if they really do have the ability to reach us in dreams or at other waking moments. I like to think it's possible. I want to stay connected with them. Physical death is not the end.
So, this morning I prepare to head to another funeral. I realize I'm aging...so this will happen more and more... and after the shock of word of the passing, I have realized how important the celebration of the life is. I'm heading to NJ on Thursday for a group hug, for a lot of tears and lots of stories. I will show my support to the family I love so much, and I will see others from the community that I have not seen in 9 years! I know it's going to be a time Gary will really like! In some way, I hope he will be there!!