March 4th

Death is beautiful while birthdays are weird. Usually when it is someone’s birthday we celebrate. But what do we do when that person dies? When a person dies, that person’s birthday becomes something else. Or at the least, we experience it differently. Post-death birthdays remind us that life for us is now different now that he is dead. Life is not as it was, and maybe it never was as we thought. Life for us will never be the same. So every year on the day of his birth I now remember death. Of course death is not the only thing I remember, but it a significant aspect of the last part of the memories, chronologically speaking. I never thought I’d have to stare death in the eyes and watch it bulge and close his. That experience left me utterly speechless and full of words all at the same time. I’m still learning how to think about it.

I’ve found death to be a pretty easy topic to talk about with those who have seen it… for those who haven’t… I’m learning not even to try. Death is actually a lot of things – it’s not all horrible and it’s not all great. It’s a mix. Just like life, I suppose. There is one thing death isn’t. Abstract. I don’t know what to say to people who think that it is. I know when I’m talking to someone who sees death abstractly. I can’t put my finger on it, but they wear it all over… Death isn’t an argument, it isn’t an evil, it isn’t any one thing. Death can’t really be described either. If I had to summarize it in a word, I’d say it’s “divine,” but that word doesn’t do it nearly enough justice. But for death it’s the best descriptor I know. I don’t mean death is pretty, or happy. I mean it is divine. Kind of like birth. Thankfully people know what to do with birthdays, and births, since everyone knows someone who has had one. Every living person has birthdays. If they didn’t, then they would be dead. And we don’t talk to dead people. So it turns out death is very different than birth since very few people know how to think about it, or talk about it. And none of us has experienced it first-hand. Dead people know how to talk about death, but we don’t get to talk to them about it so we remain on the outside, peering in. From darkness to darkness. Most everyone knows what death is, but few are capable of knowing how to face it. Let alone talk about it with someone who has seen it kill someone they love. Yes, that is what death does, it kills. So how do you deal with a killer? How do you talk to someone who has seen Him face to face? How do you deal with someone who has seen a life end? How do you deal with it when you are that person?

Oddly enough, death is a part of every birthday since every birth will end in death… This doesn’t stop us from celebrating, nor should it. Birthday’s are awesome! But it seems weird to celebrate the birth of someone after that birth has now ceased. Yet I do. I do for a lot of reasons – probably the biggest reason is that I know death is more than death… and so I can celebrate the life that I see in death. Actually, I’ve never seen such a life that ended in such a death… I never will again. That’s where some of the beauty is. I know no one understands besides One. I still find it funny that in the moment I heard the continuous beep… beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep… In that very moment I knew more than any other time in my life that God is real, and God is good. I am still breathing sighs of relief. And I still cry. For none of the reasons people would think. I’m not depressed about it, it’s actually a pretty cool thing – besides the fact that it sucks.

Birthdays are weird, and deaths are beautiful. Especially his. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen – and it will forever scar me. So on this day of birth I smile, because that isn’t what it is anymore. It’s a day of death. But it’s a day that I remember what was and look forward to seeing that body with life in it once again. I want to see him run. That will be a beautiful thing, just like him. So for now I’ll wait. No cakes today, that would be too weird for me. Just memories and anticipations. March 4th is always a different sort of day for me. On March 4th, death is beautiful (divine), and the birthday is weird. Funny how differently you see things once things are so different.

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3 thoughts on “March 4th

  1. Today we celebrate and thank God that we were blessed to share life with David, and that we know we will see him again.

    Today I think of the hilarious times, the tender times, the moments of faith times and celebrate that for him there are no more painful times.

    Today I celebrate you too, and each of our family, our legacy, all an intricate part of those memories of David. Perhaps that is why it hurts – for we have lost a part of ourselves. Perhaps that is why it also feels holy – that we were privileged to be part of that story.

    I thank God for you today, for your tender and open heart as well as your crazy and wild-pink-mohawk nature because God knew that David would need you, that we would need you, and created you for him then, and for us now all the others you will touch. I celebrate today and every March and Sept. that we have been gifted with a sight of the divine.

  2. Thanks for sharing. Our heart grieves for your brother that we’ve never gotten a chance to meet. But maybe one day you can introduce him to us when we all gather on the other side of life. Praying for you on this day.

  3. Dave is my birthday buddy. As I celebrate, I think of him. A day we will always share and a day I’ll always remember him- the lessons his life taught me and the impact he had on mine. I thank God for leading me to you and your family when I needed it most. Thank you for your friendship and allowing me to be a part of your life! God bless you, Kaylyn, your beautiful little girls, and the Penzas/Bodnars as you continue to draw us closer to Christ.

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