For All the Saints: Living Life without Fear of Death Part Two

Connor brought much joy to all who knew him.

Connor brought much joy to all who knew him.

On September 21 I wrote about “Living Life Without Fear of Death”  
and received several comments on Facebook from friends who said that it seemed I had ended my thoughts abruptly, and I agree (in fact, I went back and added “to be continued …” to my post). One reason is that sweet-faced boy you see in the photo above, my grandson Connor. Because no matter how much I believe in eternal life and don’t fear my own death, losing a loved one–well, that’s another story.

In the earlier post I shared about the death of my father. When I was five my mother remarried, and my stepfather, a widower, became the only father I remember. Along with a new daddy, my brother and I acquired three new sisters (all grown up and married) and three new brothers (one almost grown; a year later we all welcomed our youngest brother and sister, twins. A little over four years later, just after she turned 41 and shortly before I turned 11, my mother died from leukemia. I remember our pastor saying at her funeral that, although she didn’t want to leave her six young children, she was curious about what she would find on the other side and not afraid. But losing a loved one–well, that’s another story.

Today is All Saints’ Sunday, when, in the United Methodist Church, we recognize and honor all in our church who have died since last All Saints’ Sunday. As the names were read this morning, my heart ached for my son and daughter-in-law and Connor’s little sister; for all the family and friends that loved him; for myself. Because of his cerebral palsy, Connor couldn’t speak or walk, but he could love and laugh and share his sweet smile. When he left this life on May 3, I believe he entered into a new life, with freedom to run and play and sing and dance, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a place in my heart that will never be filled. I choose to live life without fear of my own death, but losing a loved one–well, that’s another story.

Living Life without Fear of Death Part One

Quote

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Finite Creatures.”

Today’s Blogging 101 assignment is to use a writing prompt as a starting point for a blog post. I chose this one from a few months ago, which asked “At what age did you realize you were not immortal? How did you react to that discovery?”

In reference to my physical body, I don’t believe I ever thought of it as immortal. My father died when when I was a toddler, just a few weeks after my younger brother’s birth, so death seemed as real as life–something that happens to everyone. I have a picture I drew in kindergarten of my family, and included with the stick figures labeled “Mommy” “Van” and “Laurie” is “Daddy,” the father I didn’t remember as a physical presence in my life. According to my aunt, when my mother saw the picture, she gently reminded me that I didn’t have a daddy, but I said, “Yes I do, my daddy is in heaven.” We visited his grave occasionally, and I grew up with a love of old cemeteries. They don’t seem morbid or scary to me, I suppose because I associate them with memories of my mother and the conversations we had about my father. She didn’t spend those visits crying, but instead shared stories so we would have some connection to him. To be continued….

I took this photo a few years ago in a cemetery in Fairhope, Alabama, just a few weeks after Mardi Gras. I call it “Laissez les bons temps rouler!”

The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time. Mark Twain

The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time. ~Mark Twain