Death always effects me in a strange way. I am usually plagued and haunted by it for weeks after I find out that someone that I knew, or even just knew of, dies so suddenly.
On Saturday night around midnight, I was laying in bed watching television when my roommate texted me from the other side of the apartment saying, “Are you still awake? Curtis Shepherd died.” My reaction was the same, immediate one of everyone else, “Oh my gosh, what?!”
Curtis attended high school with us in a small town outside of Tampa, Florida. He was president of the student body our senior year and was the drum major senior year as well. He had been dating a beautiful and sweet girl, Veronica, since they were both 15. He was one of those people that everyone knew of, but not everyone actually knew him. However, I knew he was a “good catch” so to speak and had so, so much going for him. He was one of the elite few in our graduating class who applied to the elusive UF and actually got in. Imagine that!
But this last week I have been carrying around this weight of sadness for not only his family dealing with his sudden death, but for precious Veronica. His obituary said that they were engaged. He graduated summa cum laude from UF just five days before he died. Had a job he accepted with Exxon-Mobil. Now, that’s all gone. My heart has been piercing for Veronica everyday. The truth is, I really cannot imagine what she going through right now, especially to have lost him so suddenly in such a freakish way.
I hate thinking about what his last moments were like–if he slipped and fell off the boat, if someone accidently pushed him, if he was leaning over and leaned too far–whatever the case, I pray that he fell suddenly and died hitting his head, not fighting for his life underwater with no way out. I hate thinking of how panic-stricken his friends who were on the boat must have been when it happened. I hate thinking about how much agony they must have been in for almost seven hours while they searched for his body. And I hate thinking about his loved ones seeing his body in a casket not even a week later.
I also don’t like how death effects me. Though I know that when I die, I will be absent from the body and present with the Spirit immediately, I don’t like thinking about how I, or anyone I care about deeply, is going to die. And when I find out that someone I once knew (in any capacity) has died, it gives me a weird feeling inside. Then I feel this overwhelming burden of pain for those that are directly affected by this person’s death. I know I shouldn’t feel this way for people because it’s almost like an unnecessary burden, but I do feel this way and I wish desperately there were some magic words I could say to help them, but there are none. When someone dies, it’s interesting how people always say such wonderful things and so willing to help those directly affected. It’s interesting because people always say the greatest things about that person and offer such words of encouragement, and though to me, as an outsider only affected “ripply” I’d like to think, these words are comforting, I know it’s can only do so much for others.
My point for all of this is to say that I feel tremendous pain for those close to Curtis. I am praying for them daily, aching with them imagining their pain, and wish this didn’t have to happen. But God has a plan, from the beginning of time, to the beginning of Curtis’ life, until his last hour, He knew it was Curtis’ time. It is comforting to know that God controlled this situation, He allowed it to happen, and He has a purpose. That will never bring him back to his parents or back to Veronica, but I pray they know God is sovereign. There is hope in terrible situations, because God never leaves us.