Sadly, there was also a tragedy I had to cope with recently, which is the main subject of this musing. Nearly all of us have had to deal with people in our lives passing away. Depending on your age, you may not have had that happen in your life as of yet, or, as you get older, it seems to be happening all too often. Of course, it's an unavoidable process. Life ultimately ends in death, the end coming for many different reasons. It can be advanced age, a result of illness, or unfortunately due to tragic circumstances such as accidents, suicide, wars etc. I think I have been touched by nearly all of these circumstances of death, both expected and unexpected situations. Yet, until recently, I never had to deal with death due to violence. Recently, an elderly couple that I've come to know over the last 9 years was horrifically and tragically killed. Even more tragic, it is their own son that has been arrested and charged with their deaths.
The shock of an unexpected death is bad enough, but it is amplified significantly, when due to terrible violence. The people I knew were a kind couple, just living their lives peacefully. They occupied their days by volunteering and contributing to their community in so many ways. They had endured much sadness and difficulty in their own lives with two children and a grandchild preceding them in death due to illnesses. Yet, they never complained or talked much about their worries. Many who knew them did not know about their difficulties. They just focused on living a friendly, outgoing and giving life.
I learned of their passing via news reports when I put two and two together and realized the deceased couple, as yet unnamed, was known to me. The impact of the shock of hearing about their deaths and how they died was incapacitating. I experienced significant disbelief. I felt horror, thinking about their final moments as they were bludgeoned to death with two hammers. I felt an inability to understand how someone could do this to another person, especially to ones OWN parents. I felt compassion for the remaining family who have to deal with this horrible situation and the emotional impact of losing both parents allegedly at the hands of a relative.
Death is always a major and difficult life event to process and accept. However, this situation was so different for me. It was the first death I've ever experienced due to such violence. This situation was so much more difficult to understand, to accept and to grieve. This was a loss of 2 great people. There was a loss of confidence in humanity (how can people do these things to each other?). And there was a feeling of this event being such a shame and a waste. It was an unnecessary thing that didn't have to happen and shouldn't have happened. Oh to be able to turn back the clock.
It was a beautiful and fitting funeral service where we said our goodbyes. It was well attended by those who knew them in so many different capacities. They were known to others as relative, friend, coworker, fellow parishioner, fellow volunteer, former teacher and principal, choir member, chorus member, club member, the list goes on. This couple touched the lives of so many. Our pastor was a rock of support to all of us, from the very day we learned of their passing to the day of the funeral celebration of their lives. His message? Continue to "live life". That's what the couple would want of us. Remember them but go on living life..
I guess that's all you "can" do after something like this. Be sure to live life. Try to make a difference with the time that you have. Our lives touch others just as other impact our lives. Some things that can be bothersome or upsetting can certainly become small and insignificant when you look at the bigger picture of living life that you have.