“I will turn their mourning into joy. I will console
and gladden them after their sorrows.”
“Eileen,” said the familiar voice of our friend Shekar.
“If you and Ron want to see Dave alive, you’d better
come with me to Methodist Hospital tomorrow.”
My heart sank. We had known for months that Dave’s battle
against leukemia had not been going well but we hadn’t realized
that death was imminent.
At the hospital, we entered Dave’s room with trepidation.
I didn’t want to be there. For years, Dave has been good friend
but not an intimate – the zany guy at parties with a ready
laugh and a heart of gold, the kind of guy who never needed to make
new friends because his buddies were friends for life. That’s
how I wanted to remember him, not as this shell of a body with very
little hair, doped up with morphine and gasping for breath.
His devoted wife Karen was there, as always, and she was crying.
“I’m not very strong these days,” she apologized.
We stood around in surgical masks not knowing what to say. Dave
may have heard us when we told him we loved him but probably not.
We hugged Karen.
“He’s fought so hard. It can’t be much longer,”
she said. “I’ll keep you posted.”
Then I went home and read these readings.
I’m sure they are true and I pray they will be so for Karen
and the millions now suffering from Hurricane Katrina and other
more personal tragedies. It seems too pat for those of us who aren’t
consumed by tragedy to utter comforting platitudes to those who
At least I am confident that Karen will eventually work through
her loss as the readings suggest. As we stood outside Dave’s
room, we started reminiscing about happier times. We told funny
stories about Dave. We managed to laugh a bit, even Karen. Keep
her in your prayers.