Death, the Unexpected Eventuality

Sometimes I arrogantly think death cannot surprise me. It’s a really stupid thought. A couple of months ago, two of my friends died. One, unexpectedly in an accident, and the other in a fight against cancer.

One was my buddy from high school. He was always up for talking about cars, going riding around, and never turned down a fishing trip. Time and life stepped in and my group of friends grew apart, as life went on. In that moment we came back together.

People grieve differently. I will get quiet, walking away to process it. If it hits really hard, then I’ll write a poem. My wife wanted to get a card. A nice gesture, but to me, it feels empty to get a sympathy card full of cliches.

I would rather have someone just sit with me and listen. Like Job’s friends in the the Bible. My friend Bobby listened to a rambling two hour monologue over the phone after my godson died. Other family came from hundreds of miles to just be there for us.

A week after my buddy’s death, Randal, Howls coauthor and coeditor, died of cancer. I thought of him daily, he was wrote down on my prayer list. Earlier that day, I had checked his Facebook page to see if I missed a post. Nothing since December, and it was a post that I would expect from him, a rant. Surely he was doing well, I thought.

It wasn’t well.

This is one thing that gives me hope at funerals, when I hear that they were in a saving relationship with God. If so, then I’ll know I will see them again. If not, never again, and the hope dies, and pain rises. With these two, I have some confidence, if not assurance. I’ll close with a poem I wrote after the funeral:


Did You Whisper?

My heart is heavy
and burdened

Death after Death.

Twelve in Four.

Twelve people
gone in
four years time.

Whos next?

I have a hope.
I have a freedom.

My own death
does not
hold the grip
that it did.

I have died twice

Is my hope
the same as
my friend’s

That is
my burden today.

I will see the others again.
They are where I will be.
Is Michael there?
Is Randal there?

Michael was pursuing you.
Seeking and knocking.
Did you whisper in his ear?
Did he turn and come near?

Did he know
his time had

The seed was
being sown.
Did it take root?

Randal lived
on his terms.
As mortality

Did you whisper in his ear.
Did he turn and come near?

Was he lost or
a prodigal
far from home?

I joke
that I want to see
crooked halos
on saved sinners.

It’s a
as well.

Did you whisper in his ear?
Did he turn and come near?

Was my hope
their hope?
Are they waiting
on me in the

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