Senseless

This morning when my daughter called, I knew right away that something was not right. Her voice sounded leaden and strangely detached.

“Mom.”

“You sound odd. Did you just wake up?”

“No.”

“What’s wrong?”

“I have some terrible news . . .”

My mind went to reeling because I knew then that someone had died. I knew it couldn’t be my granddaughter, because had it been, my daughter would have been hysterical. My heart skipped a beat when I thought something may have happened to my son-in-law; but then I realized no; she’s too calm for that, too.

One of their closest family friends, mother of five, was dead. Killed in a car accident. A friend had been driving, and had walked away from the wreck.

Six children, the youngest not even a year old, and still breastfeeding. A warm, lively, homeschooling mom who loved her children and had one of the sharpest senses of humor I’ve encountered. I little over a year ago, I was at her baby shower and we were laughing about how her having given away all her baby stuff had brought on this fifth pregnancy. She was so happy to be carrying another baby. Now her baby won’t even remember his mother.

All day I’ve felt like lead myself. The family of the woman who died, and the one who killed her, so close for over 30 years; will their friendship survive this? One wonders. The driver was driving too fast, and they had all had drinks with dinner.

At supper tonight, my little girls fidget and want to talk about this lady whose children they’ve played with at Nanny’s house, my granddaughter’s other grandmother. “Why didn’t God save her, Mom?” they ask.

I look at them blankly. “I don’t know. I don’t know if God is involved in car wrecks. I don’t know what God is doing at times like this. I don’t know. I wish I had an answer. I’ll think about it; but right now I really don’t know. All I know is that she loved God, and she taught her children to love God, and I hope they all are comforted by God right now.”

We watch the news; we see the twisted metal. A nearby resident who saw the aftermath says of the driver, “I hope he goes to prison for life. That’s what he deserves.”

Is that the propitiation for when mommies die?

We get out of bed in the morning, we brush our teeth, we make coffee or tea. We brush our hair. We absently brush the hair out of our kids’ eyes. “Brush your teeth!” we say, “Get dressed!” We pour cereal, we pour milk. We do what mothers do, what fathers do. Our children complain sometimes; they demand. They take us for granted; we take ourselves for granted too. We assume we’ll live all day today and all day tomorrow. We assume we’ll live for a long time and avoid major tragedies. When my husband leaves in the morning, I never think, “I won’t see him alive again. Later tonight, I’ll have to go identify his body.” We do not put our keys into the ignition and drive to work in the morning thinking to ourselves, “Tonight I’ll accidentally kill someone.

We never assume, “Today will be the last day of my life.”

15 responses

  1. Thank you again, everyone, for your comments. This has been one of those weeks that is full of emotion and pondering. I’m pretty sure that every one of you knows what I mean when I write that sometimes there just aren’t words.

    And yet I keep wanting to talk and write about it!

  2. Eve, I am so sorry.

    A long time ago I decided on philosophy concerning such situations and such questions, and although I can’t point to particular biblical verses–let that be clear–somehow it seems right.

    God created the world and man perfect; sin entered (how?) Eve and Adam ate, and now we inhabit a flawed world. The accident of your friend was most likely not an edict from God; rather it was the result of unsound driving in a fallen world.

    But…everything that happens to us has passed through the hand of God and He has said, “Yes” or “No.” Otherwise, would He be God? His ways are incomprehensible to us, are they not.

    The babies…her five…I grieve for them.

    Our comfort is in Jesus Christ, the righteous.
    “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:”

  3. This is horrible. How can one make sense of it, especially in the midst of the tremendous grief? My heart goes out to all involved.

    I have no answers to give, only my heartfelt condolences.

  4. Death is never fair. Even when you pray for it to come, it never really does bring relief…and when it strikes you from out of the sky without warning, then it is tragic and heartbreaking and bitterly mysterious.

    May healing come quickly. I have great empathy for you and for the family.

  5. We do take ourselves and our loved ones for granted. There is such a fine line between being aware of the fragility of life, and living in constant fear.

    Your friend’s death is so incomprehensibly unfair and tragic. There is grace in the fact that the family has friends who will love and care for them, and grieve with them, but the loss is so huge … it’s hard to imagine how they will learn to survive it, though inevitably, they must.

  6. So sorry about your friend, Eve. Things like this increase my doubt in God, even as I try to have faith. May your friend’s family find some comfort and peace eventually; no doubt now all there is is grief and pain. Life is so fragile.

    Thank you for your beautiful blog.

  7. And death shall have no dominion.
    Dead mean naked they shall be one
    With the man in the wind and the west moon;
    When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
    They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
    Though they go mad they shall be sane,
    Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
    Though lovers be lost love shall not;
    And death shall have no dominion.

    And death shall have no dominion.
    Under the windings of the sea
    They lying long shall not die windily;
    Twisting on racks when sinews give way,
    Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break;
    Faith in their hands shall snap in two,
    And the unicorn evils run them through;
    Split all ends up they shan’t crack;
    And death shall have no dominion.

    And death shall have no dominion.
    No more may gulls cry at their ears
    Or waves break loud on the seashores;
    Where blew a flower may a flower no more
    Lift its head to the blows of the rain;
    Through they be mad and dead as nails,
    Heads of the characters hammer through daisies;
    Break in the sun till the sun breaks down,
    And death shall have no dominion.

    Dylan Thomas

  8. I pray that both of the families find a place of peace and forgiveness. That might not come for quite a long time after something like this. How absolutely devastating. My heart goes out to everyone who is touched by this.

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