August 10, 2010

Tragic Tales 1: Death in the Family

It's not that I'm afraid to die,
I just don't want to be there when it happens.
— Woody Allen

Looks like I've found a new series to write about. I'm going to ask you to tolerate awkwardness in this post because I'm running on fumes. With all of the deaths that have happened around me, including recently, this is the first time that I've been in the middle of helping with making arrangements for a funeral, burial, cleaning out an apartment and so forth.

On Saturday, July 31, we went to the scene of a death. Lots of shock, hysterical crying, getting people notified, talking to police, all that. No foul play, it seems to have been a matter of losing track of how many prescription pills and how often to take them, and it became fatal. She was in her mid to late 20s. That's all you need to know.

As my regular readers well know, I do not use real names for the protection of people; I can make my points without risking anyone's safety or causing embarrassment. I'm going to call the deceased "Monica".

This situation is typical of so many, including some that I have experienced myself. The girl had not even had a funeral yet, and the vultures were circling: "Can I have the big TV?"..."Can I have the coffee pot and microwave?"..."Can I have...?" I have no problem with a fair dispersion of the goods, especially after the people closest to the deceased have their say in the matter. But to call the grieving mother and make demands, or deny the grieving companion treasured things — I want to use the bad words that God wants me to stop using. But all of this really angers me, capice?

Worse, I saw — and still see — people using this girl's death for their own ends. They are not only trying to get "stuff", but to lash out at people they don't like. Wow, I want to scream bad words! This is a time to put differences aside, not for jerks to use for their selfish goals. 

I'm reminded of Matthew 12.34b (NIV), "For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." I've heard it used to teach against using profanity, coarse jesting (I know, I know, still trying to stop doing that myself) and so forth, but think about what I'm saying. "I want! I want!" That shows a heart full of selfishness and greed, don't you think?

Believe it or not, there is also good news in all of this.

The other side of the equation is that people start communicating again. Aside from sharing fond memories and sorrows from their loss, sometimes there is reconciliation. I have seen it, and I have seen some opening up and honesty. If people use all that, it can lead to new beginnings.

I pray that it is so.

Part 2 of this series is here.


Dennis said...

It's a shame that "Monica" is to be remembered as a young person who "Didn't follow instructions".

Such a story should not be swept under the table. Her story is far to valuable to be categorized as
having valuable kitchen appliances that everyone wanted before the funeral.

What was her spark of life, she has an important message. Where did her friends/family begin to take her actions for granted?
Why in heavens name did her mother have so little importance to this child's associates. What absolute disregard for civility and good manners can be explained away by the demands for a "trinket". Was everyone around her so desperate for material needs, they were "stripping her stuff from her body before she was eulogized?"

Was this done in a war zone, a third world country or here in America?

How sad! My sincere sympathies to her parents. I will pray for their healing? As for the jackals around her, I'm not so sure they should get any prayers.

Stormbringer said...

Hi Dennis,

She's going to be remembered for more than just "someone who did not follow instructions".

I am emphasizing the negatives here so that people can see, and hopefully learn, from the series of tragedies. Monica should have been able to live the American dream. Instead, she had bad influences in her childhood, her mother's efforts at discipline were undermined, and then we have mental illness and what I believe to be demonic activity.

Then there were the choices she consciously made that hurt others.

Her loved ones are healing. It is indeed unfortunate that the people who saw her body have that image burned into their minds. I pray that it will fade; her mother sees it when she closes her eyes to go to bed at night...that tears me up.

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