In the wake of Becky’s death I’ve come to understand how defining death is. Three little words say so much about Becky now – “Becky is dead.” I think about introducing myself to a new person and I find myself wanting to say “I’m Claudia, the one whose daughter, Becky, died.” At church this last Sunday a woman visited who we had never met before. My husband Steve and I always stand at the door and greet people as they come and go between services. As we greeted this woman her eyes got round and she said “Are you the ones whose daughter died?” Yes, that would be us.
As we re-enter ‘normal’ life – looking for the ‘new normal’ — I wonder what I’ll say when someone asks how many children we have? We have three children and this will never change. Do we say “We have three children” and leave it at that? Do we early introduce grief into our new relationships by saying “We have three children, two we see fairly often and one we won’t see until we see Jesus?”
I rebel at this understanding of death as primary. Death has never defined Becky nor does it now. Becky lived vibrantly. She was a lover of Jacob, a devoted mother to Amity and Dara, a quirkily hilarious sister, a doting daughter, a driven student, and a compulsive sharer of Jesus. Jacob mentioned that he saw her weep many times at the thought that someone she knew might die without knowing the saving grace of Jesus Christ. She had a life-long thing about death – she looked at it, considered it, wondered at how she would survive it if someone she loved died. And all this consideration caused her to share compulsively about life, true life. In a great mercy and grace Becky died in a way that makes her Dad and I realize that she never tasted death. She wasn’t aware of her own death, in essence here one moment and unaware the next, and she never knew the death of the people whose death she most feared. What a joy for her, but what an ache it leaves for us.
Becky is more alive now than I’m able to understand or imagine. Lord – teach me how to express vibrant life even when I speak of death. Thank you that death is the last enemy and you’ve conquered it by the overcoming power of the One Who is Life!
“But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.” Jude 20, 21