A few weeks ago I attended the funeral of a friend’s grandma, as the videographer. The family had asked me to just do a simple recording of the service, and I was happy to. Now, I had never met this woman who passed away, but during the slide show and feeling the sadness and loss in the voices of those who spoke about her, I got a little teary. It was sad.
Last weekend I went to the memorial service for the husband of a former Lego store co-worker. This death had a more immediate connection to me as I’d spent time with the man, but it was also a sadder situation, if you will allow me the tactful comparison of loss. This man was in his 50’s and died of a sudden heart attack, leaving behind his wonderful wife and three kids. I did not hold it together during this service as well as I did the previous one, mostly because I kept thinking of his wife, who is just a fantastic woman… thinking about her losing her partner and still having to raise these kids. It was very sad.
Both of these farewells were for great Christian people, which is certainly cause for peace among the sadness, but they were still sad times. The other day, though, I saw the movie Room (which was wonderful) and one of the gals I watched it with uttered an angry comment that she really hoped a certain character in the movie would die… as if she’d be pleased with that. Obviously, the death of a fictional character doesn’t really impact us much (unless you’re me and you cry a lot), but even in real life many tend to celebrate the death of “villains.” That’s often a painful reaction for me to hear, because no matter who the person in question is, it’s always sad when someone dies. Even a terrorist who blows up innocent people? Yes. They’re still human; they were once little kids, with lives filled with as much potential and value as anyone… and the sadness comes from the waste of life. Adolf Hitler was the figurehead of a horrible movement, but what great leadership skills he had… what could he have done with it all if he had chosen a path that wasn’t filled with cruelty, pride, and hate? When a young dope runs their motorcycle into a tree and dies, simply because they were being reckless, that’s still someone’s child or friend. I suppose it’s simply been on my mind, lately, as I’ve had a slew of recent deaths around me, so this might be as much a reminder to me to be wary of my own callousness (another post on that later this week) as it is for any readers. Death is so physically permanent, an end to all chances of redemption or further kindness, that no matter what — whether it’s the end of a long life well-lived or the loss of a person who has caused more pain than joy — regardless of the situation, it’s sad.