Death Called

Yesterday morning Death let me know he had visited via the telephone when Jason called and said, "Cher, I need you here now, a resident was found dead in his room." I had heard the sirens, many of them and very close, but when they didn't pull up outside the hall where my office is located, I breathed a sigh of relief. Actually, I remember thinking, "Great, is this going to become an every Friday thing here?" Then, as I said, Death called.

A little about the boy who died. I didn't know him other than as a resident of the hall. He hadn't been in any trouble, so sad to say, he was one I didn't know. He was a Fire Science/Safety major like his resident assistant and was from northern Indiana. His death wasn't from alcohol or drugs, and according to his health records he was healthy as a horse. So why would the coroner announce that a 19 year old died of natural causes? He was 5 days into his 19th year. Who would think of a kid that age dying of natural causes? Why? What's the purpose of denying a mother, father, older brother (and his fiancee) and a younger brother the pleasure of watching this young man get any older? I suppose it's simply just this thing we call life; I would ask Death if I could.

There is no answer or explanation for the question swimming in the eyes of parents and siblings. The only gift to give is the gift of respect and honor while the muffled sound of sobs behind a closed door is remindful of what awaits us all, even those who have been through it before. We can never escape Death who is as much of a part of Life as is Birth. Birth and Death . . . two parts of the equation called life. There is nothing to say as you hold a sobbing mother who is clenching her son's comforter (probably picked out by her for his first year away from home). What memories does his scent evoke? The pain of his birth, his first scrape, his first lost love? None of which compare with the pain of now. Try explaining his father's "hardness" that my staff speaks of later on. One statement that particularly affected them was as he tossed his son's text books aside, "Well, he sure won't be needing these anymore." We talked of shock and how his father more than likely wouldn't even remember doing or saying it the next day. And there were tears in their eyes as I told them of the family's afternoon visit to the room in which the father, with tear-filled eyes, clutched a fire-fighter statue in his hands. There was pride in his eyes as well.

Life is such a wonderful thing but Death can change everything in a instant. Is it God's will? I don't think so; his cycle was simply complete.


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