Death came to visit last week, to virtually rip my heart from my chest. Death came and claimed the life of my beloved Lynn, unexpectedly, unfairly, in a most horrible of way.
Death came to visit last week. Lynn left this earth. My footsteps seem to echo in the hallway more loudly than before. Was this cold air tickling my neck as it oozes off the window panes behind me here before? I never noticed it when she was here beside me.
Death came to visit last week. Life is different now. I no longer have to time the cooking to coincide with her arrival. The closet hides a present that has no recipient. There are two cars in the driveway where only one now lives.
Death came to visit last week. My life was turned upside down. Death took her while I and her daughter held her in our arms, stealing the object of my love, the ground of my existence, the plans for my future. Has it always been this quiet here?
Death came to visit last week. I no longer have a wife; two children no longer have a mother and two grandchildren no longer have a Memo; and there were other step-children and grandchildren who adored her and are distraught. Death has this way of digging a hole in the very center of living.
Death came to visit last week. I am now alone, again. And yet there is a difference in alone and lonely. Death came to visit and she is gone, but there is so much death cannot remove.
Death came to visit last week. But death could not take away the memory of her smile, the sparkle in her eye, the whisper of her hope for the future, nor the promise of her faith.
Death came to visit last week and took my love away. Death did not take me. I am left to live. In the emptiness of her absence I hear the compelling whisper to live, to live with more purpose, to live with more meaning, to live with a zeal to taste the wonder of each moment.
Death came to visit last week. Death left me with a compulsion to infuse her lineage with the lessons of life she sought so diligently to teach, to know the difference in wants and needs, that stewardship is the art of planning for those who follow behind, that life's greatest beauty and life's most delicate treasure is found in the simple things – a wild flower in bloom, a child's smile, and expressions of appreciation and a hug for those who seldom are hugged, that a shared pot of soup can be the occasion of new beginnings, new friendships, new ministries, and new purpose.
Death came to visit last week. Death whispered in my ear before taking my love away and filled me with fear. But death is a liar. There are some things death cannot take away. Love is always mine and will always live. Memory is always mine and rekindles the presence of that now gone. The presence of her I discover is not dependent on the physical. Death's whispered threat is that, only a threat.
Death came to visit last week. Yet death left empty-handed. I am alive; I am so much alive with all we were together, and as long as I live she also will live.
To hell with you, death.