I have been silent on the screen for the past three weeks. Between busyness in my home town, at Chautauqua Institution, visiting friends, then the heartache of a great niece who was killed crossing a residential street. My fingers needed to relax and my brain needed to assimilate the lectures and sermons heard, the course taken, and deal with a continuing loss.
I will begin with the most recent: the great sorrow.
My alien spouse has a brother whose eldest son was born a month after we were engaged 45 years ago. That son lost his first son in 1997, to a severe epileptic seizure. This took place a day or two after his maternal grandfather had died. The paternal grandfather was officiating the maternal grandfather’s funeral while the young parents were at the hospital with their three year old son. The devastating news was delivered to the church during the service which the grandfather announced to the mourners – Jesus took Jack to heaven to be with Jesus and Jack’s grandfather. Double tragedy!
This same son, now a father to three sons, lost his only daughter last week. A very public death. The father, President of the Canadian Conservative Party, and his family, live in Toronto. His national exposure precipitated national grieving.
But little six-year old Georgia had fame of her own due to her astounding personality. In news clips posted on the internet, children and parents extolled Georgia’s free and friendly spirit. Her mother gave a eulogy giving glimpses of Georgia’s character: she ran out the front door in the morning to wave goodbye to neighbors driving away to work; she knocked on neighbors’ doors to be friendly. If they didn’t answer quickly enough, she might try the doorknob and enter to announce her presence. Now six, she began demanding more freedom and responsibility.
Wednesday, July 16, her mother drove Georgia and baby brother to the library a couple of blocks away. They also played and chatted with friends at a playground nextdoor. When it was time to leave, Georgia begged her mother to let her walk home. This was not her first walk home alone; she was well prepared for this venture.
After arriving home, the mother heard the sirens and ran to the scene. The final analysis is not in, but it would appear the child ran into the street as a minivan turned the corner. It is assumed she was running to beat her mother home. Hearing this story from my son brought on a flood of grief for these parents I dearly love.
My story is different, but I also lost a daughter. I didn’t think I could ever be happy again. I did not “move on.” I walked into the forest of grief and allowed myself to be drenched. In the darkness of the forest, I was sure God had nothing to do with Karin’s death; it was only Satan. But as time wore on, I could see amazing coincidences of grace — how God had planned for Karin’s family. Once I saw the light again and walked out on the other side of the forest, my life had changed dramatically in more ways than I could have imagined. And I can firmly say today that God does have a plan for our lives. God had a plan for Georgia’s, and she fulfilled her work for God in her few short years.
To complicate the situation and bring the entire city to its knees, local construction was forcing traffic to divert onto the residential streets. Many residents were worried about the excess traffic in their neighborhood. Georgia’a tragedy made her the poster child of exceptionalism and purpose. It takes time, but eventually her family will survive and will praise God for his wondrous works and for the bright shining light she was to the world.
As aunt-in-law to the mother, I was privileged to throw an Ice Cream and Pickles baby shower in Georgia’s honor six years ago. Three years later, my marriage fell apart. The last time I saw Georgia, my grandson was happily playing with Georgia and another cousin.