Sunday, April 29, 2007

Death Sucks.

That's not meant to be funny. Or ironic. It's called I'm at the point where that's all I can think to say. Death sucks. If you object to the curse word in there, chalk it up to postmodernism that says I can be a Christ follower and also use the words that aptly express my feelings even if they're considered vulgar. Hopefully you can also credit the fact that I wouldn't be much of follower if the death of my 21-year old cousin didn't leave me upset and frankly, pretty darn pissed off. I know all the lines that there's hope because Christ has conquered death. This life isn't all there is. He's in a better place. We'll be together again someday. Sure. It's true. I DO believe it. It's actually quite comforting. But there's still this heap of emotions that keep bursting through the healing words and thoughts leaving everything to feel so.... raw.

I don't know why I have such a hard time with sadness but I always seem to be crossing the razor-edge line from sorrow into rage. Don't get me wrong, I've shed plenty of tears but after they're dried I still feel like punching something. What am I so angry at, you'll ask, and I don't even know if I can sufficiently explain it. Maybe it's just that, for me, anger's more easy to deal with. Anger feels powerful where as sadness seems too vulnerable. Sure it's immature but I can't fight wanting to scream out that "It's just not fair!!!" Injustice. That's something to be angry about, right? The injustice of death, with a Dylan Thomas style plea to "rage, rage against the dying of the light!" But Thomas seems to speak of death of the aged, those who have lived and seen and done. He speaks not to the death of youth. When the cruel world claims those who have only begun to live, there lies tragedy indeed.

This week marks the fourth funeral I've been to in the past few years and three out of four have been for people under thirty. That's where death really sucks. In a reflection on the Virginia Tech tragedy, author Neil Gaiman said, "[I'm] still managing to think of this as something that happened, tragically, to Other People. And then heart sinks... and I get my nose rubbed hard and painfully in the fact that there are no Other People. It's just us." And that's true. Every death is someone's someone. A son, a mother, a brother, a friend, a cousin - an Andy.

Andy. Andrew Patrick Moore, A. Mo, though you will always be our Andy. I remember you so well as a little boy with a shy smile and how in just a few summers you became a handsome young man that I suddenly looked up to - quite literally looked up to, for in between vacations you sprouted up taller than most of your older cousins! We played board games and UNO and in a small enough group your shyness etched away and we could talk about college and friends and your future.... The future that you no longer have outside of the hearts of those that love you. My image of you will always be barefoot, wearing swim trunks and a life jacket for you were ever most alive on a jet ski or being whipped around the lake tubing or water skiing with graceful confidence. You used to say the ride was awesome because it was fast - and perhaps now that's how we can see your life: a wonderful, but all too fast ride.

I don't know what else to say besides "it's so tragic" or "it's so unfair" or "it's not right" or perhaps most appropriately, "it just plain sucks". But none of those cliches can capture the whole of the situation. I suppose I could use another's words to say it best, "There is no pain greater than losing something - someone - before truly recognizing it's value." (R.A. Salvatore). You were valued to us Andy, you still are and always will be. But your potential, your impact and value in the world, were only just beginning. I can't describe how much you will be missed, but I will say that you will forever be remembered and you will be a constant reminder of how precious and fleeting life really is. Our family reunions at the lake will never be the same - we are 17 cousins now and there will be an empty chair for you at the table. But there is hope in knowing that we will have a grand reunion in heaven some day. It will certainly be the best one ever.

Goodbye, Andy. I'll miss you man.


Anonymous said...

Hey lis - so sorry to hear about what happened. Hope you're doing okay with things. Hang in there and know that you're in my prayers.

Greg said...

Lisa, great tribute to Andy. His impact on your life really comes through here. Although, I'm sure much of it can't even be put into words.