Death. Never an easy topic to discuss.
Comic book writer Stan Lee, the creator of Spider-Man, the X-Men, and many other superheroes, died a couple weeks ago. I recently saw the movie Bohemian Rhapsody, based on the true story of Freddie Mercury and the band Queen. Freddie was only 45 when he died, and yesterday was the anniversary of Freddie’s passing in 1991. My pastor knows another pastor in the same denomination whose toddler granddaughter recently died unexpectedly and suddenly. And, hitting closer to home, a friend from the church I went to when I first moved here lost his battle with cancer this weekend. He was only 30; he was in the college group at church when I first started going there, and his older brother was one of my first friends when I moved here.
I feel especially bad because this guy and I had kind of grown apart. We didn’t argue or have a falling-out or anything like that; we just grew apart from natural causes as life took us in different directions. The same thing happened with me and his brother, who no longer lives in California. I’ve grown apart from a lot of people over the course of my life, and I’ve always told myself that no one is in the wrong here, that growing apart is just a natural part of life. But now I have to accept the fact that it had been well over a year since I had seen him face to face and now I won’t get to see him again.
Death also always makes me wish I had known people better in their lifetimes. Like I said, my deceased friend and I didn’t really run in the same circles anymore. Similarly, at the memorial service for another acquaintance who died unexpectedly in 2012, I learned all kinds of things about him that I never would have expected. And, as I have written before, I didn’t really discover Queen’s music until the months just after Freddie Mercury’s death. But I can still appreciate everything and everyone in my life now, because I never know what will happen in the future.
And I can learn something from those who pass away and the way that they lived their lives. In the case of my friend who had cancer, he was one of the nicest people anyone would ever meet, being kind to all of those around him and committed to knowing God and living for him. And that is something we can all learn from.