I miss those babies so much, but more now since we received some somber news a few weeks ago that one of their childhood friends died. She was only 22; the same age as my sweet Alison and she died trying to save someone else’s life doing CPR. I can’t even imagine what the family is going through. I talk to Alison every day and Raymond almost every day, and I believe the sadness would be overwhelmingly painful if I lost either one. I’m sure all the “I’m sorry for your loss”, “she was such a good person”, “she died saving someone’s life” is only a small consolation for the mother. I know that I would want to scream back at them, “I don’t care, I would rather have my daughter back, I just want her back!”
It got me thinking naturally, about death and the afterlife. I grew up being taught that when you die, you are sleeping until Jesus comes again. When he shows up, all the righteous people will wake up and go to heaven. I have been lucky; I haven’t had a lot of death in my lifetime. But when my Grandmother died, that concept did not sit very well with me. I didn’t like the thought of the woman who I loved so very much just laying in the dirt asleep. I felt better knowing that her body might be in the dirt, but she was floating around, looking out for my family and me, sisters and brother, my cousins. Looking out for my Grandfather, who was so distraught that she was gone he tried to climb in her casket at the funeral. When my Grandfather passed away, it was easier for me to think that my Grandmother was right there waiting on him to show him around and to show him all the flowers she had planted. She would have also taught him how to look out for the rest of us here on earth, making sure we were all ok and safe.
When people die, I have such a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that one-minute someone is here and the next they are gone. It makes me feel better thinking I’ve got someone out there looking out for me. There is an obscure John Mayer song called Dear Marie. There is a line in that song that says “And if you are further up the road, can you tell me what I can’t see”. I look at the ones we love who have moved onto something we can’t understand, as further up the road telling us what we can’t see, and it calms me.
So for all those who are further up the road than me, keep looking out for me. Keep looking out for that homeless person at the end of the exit ramp with their sign; keep them safe in the heat of the summer. Keep looking out for the elderly lady who is home alone all day; give her some comfort that someone is making sure she is all right. Keep looking out for that troubled young person suffering silently with the loss of his mother, make sure he knows she is looking out for him every day. Keep looking out for that mother who doesn’t know how to keep putting one foot in front of the other every day. Give her some comfort so she can figure out how to at least put her shoes on and walk with her every day. Keep an eye out for all of us down here, missing you terribly learning how to relive life without you.