|Mourning Cloak butterfly captured at St. Mary's Sewanee retreat center|
Sorrow makes us all children again - destroys all differences of intellect. The wisest know nothing. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Autumn is a time that seems to make us all more mindful of the cycles and seasons of life. As the leaves begin to fall from the trees, the days get shorter and the frost comes like a floral grim reaper, we are reminded of the inescapable fact that all living things must die.
Although it is not quite Autumn yet, the events of the past week have made it all the more difficult to ignore this truth.
It was just a week ago tomorrow that the nation and the world reflected on those that were lost on 9/11. I have since learned that my son's battalion has suffered their third casualty in this deployment, a dear childhood friend lost her 17 year old son, and a local young woman suffocated her twin infants just moments after they were born. Today my family is making final arrangements for my uncle who passed earlier this week and this evening I will be attending a banquet in honor of Gold Star families and their loved ones lost in service to our country.
Of all the ways death has touched my life this week, only one of them was was an old person who had the chance to live a full and fulfilled life. There have been young heroes who knowingly put their lives on the line for their country and innocent civilians cut down in the prime of theirs by an act of war; a beloved child lost too soon is deeply mourned by the family who raised him while two newborn infants whose opportunity to be loved by a family was thwarted in an incomprehensible act.
When someone dies at the "right" time, we grieve but we don't ask why. When someone dies too soon, we can't help but try to explain, understand, apply a reason etc... As a result, some of the most hurtful things can be said to the grieving with the pure intention of providing comfort and solace. Emerson was spot on when he said "the wisest know nothing."
All I know is that there is a time to mourn, and this seems to be one of those times.