No Rea­son

The Oakdale Leader - - NEWS - Teresa Ham­mond

Ire­cently had an in depth con­ver­sa­tion with some­one on death. More specif­i­cally on those we love who are taken too soon. We’re both be­liev­ers in God so we spent time talk­ing about grief, anger, lack of un­der­stand­ing and the way oth­ers re­spond as they try and hold you up.

I knew be­fore I went to bed Sun­day night that I would write my col­umn on this topic. The ti­tle had come to me be­fore I drifted to sleep.

Iron­i­cally this con­ver­sa­tion hap­pened a hand­ful of hours be­fore the tragic mas­sacre in Las Ve­gas.

In life there are no co­in­ci­dences.

I don’t in­tend to use this to try and make sense of the Ve­gas tragedy, that’s not pos­si­ble.

I do how­ever in­tend to share a bit of our con­ver­sa­tion which sadly now dozens of other fam­i­lies must face. Lives taken too soon, too young, so much left to of­fer this world – sense­less … So con­fus­ing. How do you wrap your mind around lives taken too soon? Per­son­ally that’s an easy an­swer – you don’t.

We each how­ever (if lucky) find a way to cope, move on and deal with the loss of an early life loss.

Dur­ing the con­ver­sa­tion, we dis­cussed the vary­ing things peo­ple say to try and com­fort those griev­ing. Dur­ing this time, we ex­plored the no­tion of those who of­fer the “there’s a rea­son” phi­los­o­phy. For some, this idea makes sense – it doesn’t for us.

As we ex­plored the “why” at­tached to the mind­set of there’s a rea­son, I shared what might be per­ceived as the flip­side of this, yet has of­ten brought me com­fort.

I have a strong be­lief that we were each placed here for a pur­pose. What that means ex­actly for each and ev­ery one of us is dif­fer­ent. When it comes to loss, how­ever, es­pe­cially for some­one be­fore their time, that helps com­fort me.

I think back to the life of the in­di­vid­ual, their spirit, laugh­ter, heart or their drive – the lessons learned just by watch­ing them do life. More of­ten than not, those lost too soon are some of the most amaz­ing peo­ple we know. I don’t be­lieve that’s by ac­ci­dent. Does it make sense? No. Can we learn from it? I sure hope so.

I feel im­por­tant to state here, I’m not so naïve and rain­bows and but­ter­flies that I don’t rec­og­nize the sense­less­ness and great void this leaves a family who is robbed of a young life. Trust me; over 25 years later, I still grieve the loss of a best friend. You just can’t shake that type of loss.

I do, how­ever, of­ten tell her story and how her pass­ing changed me for the bet­ter. I no longer hold words of love, let mo­ments go by with­out giv­ing a hug or let my­self get too far down a pity party road – days are in­deed pre­cious and frag­ile.

Per­haps that was her pur­pose, to teach my­self and peo­ple like me the valu­able les­son of life’s great gifts. To wake us up a bit to see life is in­deed too short and we don’t get days back. Per­haps her pur­pose was to touch mine, or one of the many other per­sons who at­tended her cel­e­bra­tion of life ser­vice 25-plus years ago and rec­og­nize we never know what the day holds. I truly don’t know.

What I do know, is that when sense­less pass­ing oc­curs my mind never wraps to “there’s a rea­son.” My mind … no my mind im­me­di­ately re­flects on the per­son, who they were, what they stood for, how they loved and how frag­ile life truly is.

Much will be learned in the com­ing days, weeks and months about the Las Ve­gas mas­sacre. Even more will be de­bated and peo­ple will be­come an­gry with one an­other as it will un­doubt­edly take a po­lit­i­cal turn.

My po­si­tion is sim­ple, rather than be­come an­gry and dis­re­spect­ful with one an­other, per­haps it’s best to think a bit harder on the pur­pose. There is in­deed les­son in ev­ery life oc­cur­rence, as a so­ci­ety what can we gain from those who are no longer here to speak their truth. How can we honor those lives lost?

One thing I know for sure, honor does not come through hate and mis­un­der­stand­ing, but through love and kind­ness. Here’s to learn­ing our pur­pose. God Bless.

Teresa Ham­mond is a staff re­porter for The Oak­dale Leader, The River­bank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at tham­mond@oak­dale­ or by call­ing 847-3021.

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