In loving memory

Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshiped, and said, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” – Job 1: 20-21

He called to tell me that he was considering asking my cousin to go out with him. His nervousness seemed out of character with the bravado that he normally exhibited, but I found it endearing. Having known both of them from the time they were born, I encouraged him to go for it, and it was only a few minutes later that he called back to tell me that she had accepted and that he wanted me to be their chaperone – something that her parents had apparently insisted on.

Their first date consisted of us riding to her house, taking her to church, and then taking her back home afterwards. I could tell that they hit it off immediately and it wasn’t long before they were married.

Yesterday, some twelve years later, she placed him in the cold, hard ground – the victim of a senseless and brutal crime, gunned down by a crazed neighbor in their driveway for no apparent reason. It was torturous to watch her weep and to realize that their precious three year old son will never know his father.

The minister who officiated at the funeral service reminded us of Job in the Bible, who lost all of his children and his wealth, but fell to his knees and worshiped God anyway. He said that instead of mourning what has been taken from us, we should be thankful that we were allowed to know him for as long as we did. It is a difficult challenge, but I will try.

Dear Heavenly Father, I don’t know why this tragedy had to happen, but I trust that You see the bigger picture. I thank You for the good memories and for the outpouring of sympathy for this man’s family. I trust that Your love is boundless and beyond our comprehension, and that he is now resting in eternal peace with You. Amen.

The personal website of my now-widowed cousin had the following poem on it well before this happened, and I found it to be both beautiful and uncannily appropriate given her current circumstances.

Comes The Dawn
By Veronica A. Shoffstall

After a while you learn
The subtle difference between
Holding a hand and chaining a soul
And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
And company doesn’t always mean security.

And you begin to learn
That kisses aren’t contracts
And presents aren’t promises
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes ahead
With the grace of a woman
Not the grief of a child

And you learn
To build all your roads on today
Because tomorrow’s ground is
Too uncertain for plans
And futures have a way
Of falling down in mid flight

After a while you learn
That even sunshine burns if you get too much
So you plant your own garden
And decorate your own soul
Instead of waiting
For someone to bring you flowers

And you learn
That you really can endure
That you are really strong
And you really do have worth
And you learn and you learn
With every goodbye you learn.

Author: Brian

Blogger. Bookworm. Michael Jackson fanatic. Lives in Kentucky with partner of 12 years and three fabulous felines.

11 thoughts on “In loving memory”

  1. Brian, I am so sorry.

    You still write so eloquently about such a tragedy. My thoughts are with you and your family.

  2. @ Caroline: Thank you. It’s been a hard week.

    @ FreeFromItAll: I appreciate that. Thank you so much.

    @ jimthomp87: I felt the same way when I went to the visitation and the funeral. There just aren’t words to describe to the family how you feel and how sorry you are for what happened.

    @ stilldreaming: It’s it great? I’ve updated the original post with the poem’s title and author.

  3. Hi Brian. It is good to “meet you.”

    I stumbled into this post and the beauty of the poem almost took my breath away. My daughter lost her fiancee last month — he suffered an epileptic seizure during the night and did not make it through. I’ve searched high and low for something that offers her pragmatic encouragement, and this is it.

    Thanks, And my deepest sympathies for your loss. I am learning what a precious gift being alive is, now that we are left to carry on without Ryan.

  4. @ Chris: Thank you so much.

    @ Wei-Hsien Wan: That’s right!

    @ MBMQ: Thank you, too.

    @ Boy Grows Up: That is terribly tragic about Ryan. I hope that the poem will be of some comfort to your daughter during this difficult time.

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