Recent deaths in my orbit have shocked me.
A blogger who I've followed since 2008 lost her husband to cancer, he was a dad to three teenage daughters. Having lost my dad at 32, I feel even more sad and devastated for this family because at least I had mine until my early 30's. I can't stop thinking about them.
A co-worker lost her dad to a fast moving cancer recently. They had only 2 or 3 weeks with him before he passed away suddenly. I was able to use my personal experience from losing my dad 15 years ago to help my co-worker by encouraging her when he was alive and then suggesting she stay an extra week after he passed away. She was set to come back to work right after the funeral, I know people don't think clearly when they are grieving, so I gently suggested it would be perfectly fine if she stayed an extra week, I'm glad I could be helpful in her time of need.
Our neighbor passed away last Friday. A few days before dying, she was screaming profane language at her grand kids. Her voice carried across the street and into my yard when I was hard at work in the garden, making it hard to enjoy the spring weather. Usually I would head back into the house when she'd start screaming as it had become a regular occurrence. Then suddenly on Friday the street was filled with ambulances and fire trucks as her son and family sat outside crying. All the little kids she had screamed at were outside playing, all under 5 and oblivious to what was going on. I should also say at this point she was wheel chair bound, and being home alone with that many little kids who don't listen well would be incredibly stressful. I deeply regret not going over and offering to help. I didn't expect her to die suddenly. It is shockingly sad.
The next day Rachel Held Evans died. I have no connection to her other than we shared the same first name. When she first came on the Christian scene I took interest in her writing until she pivoted so far left that I had difficulty relating but I always admired her ability to ask tough questions even when I didn't agree with her theology. I'm completely devastated that she left this world at 37 with two small children left behind.
Tomorrow will be 15 years since my dad took his last breath. Being surrounded by death and coming up on this anniversary has not made me melancholy, I've just been feeling a more urgent need to do more for people.
I don't know how much time I have left, but I'd like to use it for good. I'm trying to send out encouraging messages to those in my orbit and I hope to be remembered as someone who reached out when people needed encouragement.