When the Last Petal Falls

The tears continue.  Recently, a friend of mine passed away, the conclusion to a long battle with cancer.  While a blessing for her in the end, her death marks the beginning of new challenges for her family.  Especially her children.

While adults understand that with every beginning comes an end, life is a cycle…  Kids don’t.  Not really.  In their tangible view of the world, they find it difficult to wrap their minds around the abstract; the intangible.

Discussing the topic of death with my seven-year-old son, specifically the need for sensitivity in our words and gestures, he replied with bold-faced innocence, “But Mom—when you die, I’m going to wear bright colors and have a party.”

His sister vehemently intervened.  “You’re going to be happy if Mom dies?”

 I knew where he was going with this line of reasoning—she didn’t.

“What?” he asked, offended by her tone.  “I’ll always have her in my heart.  She just won’t have her body anymore.”

My daughter was appalled by his logic.  But I pulled him into a hug.  Maybe kids do understand.  More than we think.

Granted we understand speculating on the issue and actually living without your mother are two very different things, something my son cannot possibly understand — it’s a concept difficult for adults to grasp — but he was engaged in thought, trying to make sense of it.  Yet how does one make sense of it?  My friend was young.  It was too soon.  Her family needs her. 

Life doesn’t always make sense.  It doesn’t seem fair.  It’s not right a beautiful woman with so much to live for should die.  But they do.  Good and wonderful people pass from this earth everyday.

“But Mom, maybe God needed more angels.”

I peered at him and a smile formed on my lips.  “You may be right.  And He couldn’t have asked for a better one.”

Taking a deep breath, I give pause.  I look around me and work to understand that life is a trial.  It’s a lesson in acceptance.  It’s a cycle of birth, blossom, decline and death. 

A spirit has returned home.  Her memory will endure.  Her love is everlasting — it will live in the hearts of those she loved and those who loved her.  Questioning “why” doesn’t seem to matter.  Moving forward does.  Together, those of us who held her dear will carry her with us and continue forward on this journey called life.

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