In the past few weeks....
My cousin's husband - a healthy man just three years older than me - suffered a stroke.
A young 16 year old star died on the basketball court from an unknown enlarged heart.
My great grandma died.
My sister's very best friend found out that her husband has cancer.
My brother's good friend and his wife died in a car accident during a freak ice storm, leaving behind two young girls.
It doesn't make any sense to me. At all.
Some things you can make sense of. A ninety year old woman dies. People get cancer, have surgery, live a long life. You can, like my cousin, recover fully from a stroke.
But some things just make no sense.
The earthquakes and horror in Japan are horrific but they seem so far away, even if your heart does break from the images. But when it strikes close to home, on roads you have traveled a hundred times, when someone you love has a broken heart and is leaning on another to hold them up because the sobs are wrenching their heart....
It doesn't make sense.
I can't explain it, I don't have any trite answer.
But I have a faith in God. A God I know who is holding me...while I can't make a bit of sense of it all, I have a faith that God has it in control. He wasn't surprised by it, shocked or caught of guard.
And that He knows the ache in my heart that I cannot put into words.
It's a tough balance, the aching pain of loss and hurt for those you love and the life you are living in the moment.
My five year old fear that laughter may cause you to get a heart attack and die. Because Wes Leonard was cheering happily over his teams win when he died. Because my great grandma was laughing baking a banana cake when she died.
And my eight year old needed to know if we could have an earthquake.
The boys are out laughing tonight with my husband. They are racing bikes and making us laugh and it's a nice fun evening. And yet my heart is heavy. It's hard to balance the two.
There is no easy way to.
How do you learn from this, glean some sort of good?
Because otherwise doesn't death seem pointless? The life lived useless?
My instinct is to shut down. To pull my family close and not leave them. I have had cold icy fingers of fear squeeze around my heart when I have left my boys behind to go off on a date - or just to go home after leaving them at school. I have called my parents or siblings just to hear their voice just because I suddenly have a fear they will be gone from me.
I cannot even fathom this.
Tonight, as I was washing dishes with tears filling my eyes, I thought about my brothers good friends who died. I have never lost a friend of mine. I can't understand his pain, but I feel it.
So I am going to write him a note, let him know I love him.
I don't tell my brother I love him.
And when I am done writing it to him, I am sending a note to my sister. And to my other brother. And my parents.
I am going to hug my boys, every morning, no matter how late we are to get to school.
And I am going to kiss my husband, look right in his eyes, and tell him I love him.
Because you just don't know when someone's day may be their last day here on earth. While you cannot live in a panic fear, you can make sure that the ones you love know that you love them.
After my great grandma's funeral, the boys and my husband and I went over for pizza at my parents. My Aunt was there, she'd flown in for the funeral, and my sister in law bumped into my mom at the pizza place so she came with her son. We all sat around the table chatting until late late in the night. We had nothing deep to discuss, we were just all together. Over a week later, I am still grinning when I think back on this night. It was precious to me.
Even more so because once we almost lost my Dad and I was keenly aware of how blessed I was in that moment, sitting around the table, with him at the head of it.
Create those precious moments, they become the precious memories.
Don't ever forget you can drop to your knees and cry out to the God who created us all and knows us more than we know ourselves. And knows this situation. And this loss. And loves us.