The imminence

Originally Posted on September 7, 2011

There was a very young boy here in the highway area, aged four, who died on Sunday. He had a brain tumour, much like Janie. He was given eight weeks to live when the doctors diagnosed him. That was 14 weeks ago, so mom and dad had a little time with their dear boy.

I know his name but won’t divulge it here. He was a sweet, dear boy, just a bundle of happiness and positivity. I didn’t have the opportunity to meet him but a very good friend of mine knows him and his parents, who are very decent, good people. A few days prior to his passing, they decided to stop giving him a steroid treatment which was somewhat balancing his hormones and prolonging the inevitable. Maybe the treatment was more for them, so they could say all they needed to say before they sent their boy on his way. Too young to die. Too, too young.

I just want to meet these folks and give them a hug. What a cruel, crappy thing to happen.

I get sick of listening to the earthy types saying death is a part of life and all that. Whatever. If it were so much a part of life we wouldn’t mourn and be torn to shreds inside. Death is not a part of life. Death is a curse.

I get just as sick at the Christiany types who prattle on, quoting scriptures saying that there are no “good” people, that we’re all depraved in our sin or whatever. As in “there is no one who is good, not one.” (Psalm 14:3) So it’s not that bad things happen to “good” people because no one is good. Really? These are good people. This was a good boy. He did not deserve to die. Not that way, anyway.

I suppose it’s all in your definition of “good.” Maybe the word “good” comes from some ancient derivative, like “goodly,” which comes from “godly.” If that’s the case, if we mean “good” as in God’s goodness, or rather, God’s perfection, love and so forth, then yeah, not many people match up to perfection. Maybe no one can be perfect. But people can be just good people, just average, well-meaning people. People who wouldn’t harm a fly, at least not intentionally. Those kinds of people I would call “good.” Not a shadow of nastiness or viciousness in them. Do these kind of people deserve to lose their four year old son?

I dare you to say yes.

I dare you to stand up and have the nuts to say that they had it coming.

Of course they don’t deserve it. Mom, Dad, little boy, none of them deserve this. They should stay as a family unit. They should carry on. Little boy should grow into big boy should grow into young man should grow into fully grown man should get married should have babies of his own should die at a ripe old age. That is how it should go. Things rarely go according to plan.

I hurt for this family. I hurt to the pit of my soul for them. I am as helpless to help them as I am to help myself.

No matter what your world view, can we not look upon this tragedy and not see it for what it is: a sick, wrong thing, a wrongful death?

This boy was diagnosed with his brain tumour before we even knew Janie had anything wrong with her. You can’t compare deaths like these. You can’t compare the death of a mother and spouse to that of a four year old boy. Both are untimely. Both are wrong.

A broken world, this one. And where is God in the midst of this? My faith tells me he is here. My emotions can’t process that.

Once you’ve lost someone truly close to you, like a spouse or a child or close family member or best friend, until then, you’re just oblivious to the imminence of death. Once it’s happened to you… it’s just everywhere. It’s like scales have fallen from your eyes. Everywhere you look… there it is. Just on the other side of the veil, waiting.

After Janie passed away, my uncle died. Then Janie’s aunt died in a plane crash. Then you hear stories like that of this young family.

Then you meet one person after another who has lost a child or a relative or a friend. It starts to dawn on you that we’re all a part of this community of the bereaved. Sooner or later, you join the club. Sooner or later, it will happen to you.

Or you’ll die. Lucky you.

Inevitable death. No way around it, it’s going to happen, no matter what. We can be philosophical or dogmatic about it, the choice is there for us to make. Mostly, I just think it sucks. We should all get to just keep going indefinitely. But then, I’m not making the big decisions.

This is not my place. Not my place to judge or to point fingers. But tonight, I don’t know… I’m just not okay with death. Death can go to hell. It shouldn’t happen.

Especially not when you’re four.


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