Sunday, June 21, 2009

They Walked Among Us, and They Are No More

You never think it’s going to be people you know.

After church today, I went to the recycling center to drop off my goods. A woman who arrived just after me was shaken. She had just come from the western part of our county and had seen the aftermath of a car accident. She said two people were dead at the scene of an accident where a county road intersects with a U.S. highway. [No, not an overpass. Just people turning onto a divided country 4-lane road.] We talked. I expressed dismay and sorrow. This happens far too often around here, where county roads intersect onto 70 mph state/federal highways without overpasses and merging lanes.

About 3 hours later, I got a phone call from one of my co-workers. The two people who died there were a husband and wife who worked in our office. The telephone tree is activated, so that people can hear the news today, rather than when we all get to work tomorrow.

The two people who died were both from my office: Marvin & Lynne.

Marvin has been “the mailroom guy” for as long as most of us remember. He visited every department twice a day to pick up and deliver mail. Always happy, jovial, cheerful with everyone.

Lynne started in the State Library, but we snagged her in the State Archives for her reference skills. She was much more reticent. Smart. Competent. Somewhat taciturn.

About three years ago, Lynne & Marvin married. I remember being delighted at their marriage. I think both had been single. In their late 40s or 50s, they found each other. It gave me hope. It reminded me of that slogan: “There’s someone for everyone.” Lynne, the reader, the librarian, the archivist. Marvin (I recently learned) was functionally illiterate. But it was clear they had found their soul-mates in each other. It was clear they adored and cherished each other. I always delighted in seeing them together.

Today, they were on their way to brunch together, and they were killed as they turned onto Highway 54. Somebody slammed into their car, and they died together.

Just a few hours ago, they were going about their routines together, and now they are both dead.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, and someday I’ll say how and why I feel it so strongly: I hate death!

For now, if you would, say a prayer for Lynne and Marvin – who walked among us just hours ago, and are now gone from us.

O God, whose mercies cannot be numbered: Accept our prayers on behalf of thy servants Lynne and Marvin, and grant them an entrance into the land of light and joy, in the fellowship of thy saints; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

18 Comments:

Blogger Ann said...

Amen --

6/21/2009 7:40 PM  
Blogger Jane R said...

Amen. How very sad. Thank you for telling us of their love story, too -- so sweet. Accompanying you in your mourning.

6/21/2009 8:18 PM  
Blogger Kirkepiscatoid said...

Yeah, you hate death, but one of your most cherished ministries is being crucifer at funerals. Hmmm.

That looks to me like "one of those things that appears to be a disconnect but isn't."

One of these days, the two halves of you on that oughta get together over a drink and perhaps something really wonderful will be revealed!

Meanwhile, you know you have my prayers for them, and you, as you sort through your grief. Sometimes it's harder to lose "good acquaintances" than it is friends, because with our friends and relatives, we more than likely HAVE at one time told them how much they mean to us..."work folks"...not so much.

6/21/2009 8:42 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

KirkE, this is for you. I have been meaning for about three years to write about this. But you've touched upon it, so I'll give it a bit of a go.

It's precisely because I hate death so much that I love serving as crucifer at burial services.

I love it because I can contribute some reverence and dignity to that liturgy. I love it because I can assert hope and life in the face of death.

Mostly it comes together for me in the commendation. While the priest is saying those lovely, holy words -- words which I do treasure -- I hold the cross aloft, saying inwardly -- SNARLING silently! -- "Death, you don't fuckin' win this one!" My erect posture ... my clinging to the cross that I hold as high as I can ... my defiance of the enemy ... It's all of a piece. It makes sense to me. I'm not sure it will make sense to anyone else.

6/21/2009 9:14 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Yes, Jane, their love story was quite sweet to all of us who knew them.

KirkE, you're right: It is more difficult with the "work colleagues" whom we never told what they meant to us.

6/21/2009 9:17 PM  
Blogger Joanna Depue said...

Amen. I'm certain you'll be a positive, quiet presence in the office invironment with the rest of your co workers.

Jesus said 'never let the sun go down on your anger' - my heart informs me he must also have said 'never let the sun go down without expressing your love.

And I agree - the cross transforms and triumphs!

6/21/2009 10:46 PM  
Blogger IT said...

So sorry for your loss. :-(

6/21/2009 11:46 PM  
Blogger Kirkepiscatoid said...

Yeah, Lisa, I had a feeling about that, call it a hunch because of my own interactions with the Grim Reaper. In a hospital death is many things: Adversary, neutral party, thief, tempter, and welcome friend.

I had to come to a different place than I was earlier in my career. In medical school, death appeared very adversarial to me, and had a way of jabbing the knife in my own sense of failure (during my clinical years, if the patient died, I had to run the story over and over and convince myself I did not "kill" them.) Over the years, I have evolved past that to a degree. But the twinges continue now and then.

I have a feeling you are evolving about the whole thing in some ways, and some very big realizations will come from it. Right now, the two halves feel very oppositional. Give them time and space and allow them to meet each other in a quiet place.

Right now, they don't know each other enough for you to comfortably write about it, I think. But I sensed it when I realized early on in meeting you on the intertubes, there is a real ardor in how you see your job as crucifer at funerals.

The cross, you know, is the ultimate middle finger at death. I tend to have this very wonderful irreverant thought of Jesus flipping off the Grim Reaper, going, "That's for you, asshole!" LOL

6/22/2009 7:28 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

Amen

May they rest in peace and rise in glory.

FWIW
jimB

6/22/2009 10:41 AM  
Blogger Fred Preuss said...

Do you believe in Purgatory?

6/22/2009 2:30 PM  
Blogger Suzer said...

I haven't many words today, but prayers are ascending. I suspect God will know what is in my heart. May God's Grace and Mercy be with you and those who mourn this couple, as well.

6/22/2009 3:50 PM  
Blogger Caminante said...

Lynne and Marvin, may you rest in peace.

Lisa, may you find the peace that passes understanding.

Even at the grave we make our song, Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

6/22/2009 5:03 PM  
Blogger it's margaret said...

Lisa, what a tragic loss for your whole work community.

God bless you, and you will be in my prayers as you grieve.

(A lot of grieving you've done this year. Take good care of yourself. --you know that already. just sayin'.)

6/22/2009 7:03 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Interesting thoughts, KirkE. Friday, I served as crucifer to a beloved 87-year-old lady. I was at peace, and my role as crucifer was a peaceful one.

Now, enduring the death of these 50-somethings, peace is not what I am experiencing.

Perhaps you're right: The face of "death" depends on the circumstances.

I tried to talk about how wonderful it was that Lynne and Marvin found each other. Both in their 50s. First marriage for them. I tried to speak of the joy that they found their soul-mates.

Now this is what I have learned further, from Lynne's brother who is a firefighter/EMT. He was called to scene. [God! I cannot imagine that!]

The 70-mph crash must have been horrific. But this is what Lynne's brother saw:

He said it looked like they had just taken a nap together. There was little blood. Lynne (in the passenger side) was resting her head on Marvin's shoulder. Marvin had his head resting on Lynne's head, and he had his arm around her shoulder.

I can well imagine that -- in that split-second when they saw the truck coming -- Marvin would have reached for Lynne and drawn her to him.

I don't know what else to say know.

6/22/2009 11:45 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Yes, Suzer. You don't need any Wise Words. God knows what's in your heart. And I hear the rumblings of your spirit. And that is enough, my dear.

6/22/2009 11:54 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Thank you, Caminante. I recite that often. Even at the grave ...

Deep thanks.

6/22/2009 11:55 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Thanks, It's Margaret. But I know I'm not alone. A great many in our blogging community have suffered losses. I know I am not special in this. There's comfort in knowing many of us are working our way thru this.

6/22/2009 11:59 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

The funeral is tomorrow (Thursday) at 10:00 CDT. I'll attend. Thank God, it will be at the RC cathedral. I trust the liturgy will get me through ... and all the many other people from our office who will be attending.

6/24/2009 10:55 PM  

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