I’ve heard death comes in threes. I suspect that’s not always true but since January, we’ve experienced the death of my 93-year-old mother and both of my in-laws who were in their 80’s. My mother was somewhat expected, since she’d been declining over the fall and early winter. But the deaths of my in-laws, two weeks apart, caught us by surprise. Each time, I broke the news to our grown children that they’d lost a grandparent. Death is sobering, and I knew we’d experienced way too much of it when I dreamed that our dog died and I dreaded having to tell the kids.
This month marks the anniversary of my dad’s passage into eternal life more than 35 years ago. He was a Lutheran pastor, and it’s always meant a lot to me that he performed my baptism.
Last summer, my sister showed me some of Daddy’s old appt. books, found at Mom’s house after she’d moved to assisted living. I loved looking through them and seeing familiar names from long ago.
And then I found my own birthdate noted. The story told every year on my birthday is that Dad dropped Mom off at the hospital and then went to preach the Sunday morning service in the small community where he served as pastor. The doctor who delivered me knew someone at the hospital who was going past the church and called out, “Tell Pastor Watson he’s got a little girl.”
In the back of the appointment book, Dad had different pages labeled for deaths, confirmations, new members, etc. I found my name listed on the page for baptisms.
Birth, baptism, death…life. It’s faith–signified by baptism–that takes the sting out of death. That allows life to go on and on and on.
Has the death of a loved one brought you any special insights? Share them with us, if you’re willing. And thanks for joining me on this journey.