Death’s Nimble Steps

Moments are so fluid, so multi-faceted. While one event unfolds in one person’s life, somewhere some milestone for another is ending. On October 15 in the evening hours, my friend swerved into a guard rail while driving. At the same Moment, I was receiving the humble word of Love for the first time. And, during that flick of time, my sister-in-law died.

Death sneaks in with nimble steps and thieves life. Warnings come and cautions are made, but still we silly human beings do not heed. We deny what lies in front of our faces; we naively think it cannot happen to us. But, the inevitable comes and we are left with that wretched hollow feeling and a million unerasable regrets. The waves of emotion come, crashing in our minds like giant cliffs of waters against the rocky shore. First, we are left in disbelief, then the realization hits and the pain won’t stop. Someone we care about is gone, from this world at least.

I have convinced myself that crying is weakness; crying in front of others is selfish and ridiculous. Today, I cried. A lot. It hurts. Deeply. One of my students approached me to ask about my sister-in-law today and I had to step out of the classroom. I was in and out of the ladies room all day. When people asked how I was, my auto-response was “good.” A lie.

For ten months, dearest Kristin suffered. A mere twenty-six years of age, the girl was just beginning life. The world was opening to her and her dreams. But, she was not like any girl; scars covered her arms, legs, and stomach. She had gone through three transplants, took multiple medicines, and lived from lab result to lab result. She had bruises on her arms and plexiglass arteries in her legs. Kristin would never be able to have children. And thus, her motto in life was Carpe Diem! Sieze the day! So, she did.

During her last years on earth, she went on a Cruise, had pets, got married. In fact, I was the first to meet her; she was in my Political Science class. We used to giggle over first impressions and silly fights. One night, my brother came over with coffee for me. Fate happened and the rest is history. And he stood strong through her suffering. Now, she’s in a happier place, a place where Angels sing and Saints rejoice. She doesn’t have bruises, her scars are gone. The pain and torture of constant surgery and dialysis is over for dear Kristin. She can finally rest without fearing the No Tomorrow. And her family is left to grieve.

We Catholics believe that Death should be celebrated. Prayers are always answered. I cling to this Maxim of the Magesterium. I prayed daily for her conversion and for a matching donor. Neither happened and I am left holding desperately to the hopes given by Mother Church. “No prayer ever goes unanswered.” “We live our life for one moment: to die.” And so, seizing the day, Kristin passed from a transitory life of suffering to, God willing, an eternal life of bliss. May God rest her soul.

Eternal rest grant upon them, O Lord, and may the souls of the faithfully departed through the mercy of God, rest in Peace. Amen.

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