Monday, July 18, 2011

Insignificant Death?

No death is insignificant. Everyone is valued by someone and death always leaves casualties behind.

That being said, my mom just told me today that one of our neighbors, a guy I went to elementary, middle, and high school with, died on Saturday night. Corey and I were friends in grade school. We rode our bikes around the neighborhood, he came over to play Playstation a few times, and we attended each other's birthdays every year (I still have the model Jeep he gave me once). We got into trouble hopping fences and I think I may have caused his front tooth to get knocked out when I distracted him and he ran into a parked car.

But in middle school, we definitely fell away from each other. We were never really the best of friends; I think our relationship was more one of convenience than anything else. We remained friendly all through high school and even started hanging out a little more when he joined theatre our senior year, but we weren't ever besties. He was a nice, nerdy, funny guy who I occasionally shared classes and friends with.

As such, his death is insignificant to me, at least in a strictly external way. Aside from not seeing him anymore when I mow his neighbor's lawn, I don't need to adjust my life for his absence. That doesn't make him insignificant, though.

For one, he is leaving behind a family that will feel his death forever. His sister and him began to have a good relationship in high school, when their gender and age differences faded within newfound maturity and common interests. And no mother ever wants to bury a child. I've heard it said that bereaved parents often feel an irrational guilt for outliving their child, somehow unable to protect them from their death. I wish I could unlock that door for Corey's parents to realize that nothing could have been done to save him, but no amount of logic ever seems to displace that awful feeling a parent has.

And when I say nothing could have been done to save Corey, I really mean it. Corey died of "unknown and sudden medical emergency," not of overdose, accident, suicide, or terminal illness. From what I hear, he was fine one minute and dying in an ambulance the next.

For me, the cause of his death implies the most in my life. I am not a fear-based person, but what terror his death strikes in my heart! To die, not as the result of my own poor choices or the poor choices of others, or even as a result of my infirm body! Corey likely didn't know his body was infirm until the minutes before he died, so it must have taken him (and his family) completely by surprise. Was he ready? Would I be ready?

I shed tears for Corey and his family when I heard the news. He had great potential, and while I know with no doubt that God has a plan for us, it still saddens me to see this fellow Warrior, Rensselaer graduate, and 4.0 student stricken down before he could achieve his full mortal potential. He leaves in his wake a sea of loving friends and family and an ocean of distant admirers like me. It's all in the plan, but that doesn't make the people mourning right now feel any better. We just wish we had more time with him.

His life wasn't insignificant, and just because it may not mean a lot to my daily life, he still made me think and ponder one last time. Please, pray for those who are more affected by his death than I am.

To those who knew Corey, there will be a life celebration on Saturday, July 23rd, from 2-4pm at Evergreen Memorial Park in Corey's beloved Colorado Rocky Mountains.

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