It's hard to watch your Daddy die. But even at the end, he was filled with grace and love and laughter; even at the end, he gave them everything he had with a smile on his face. He made his death a little easier for them because of the beautiful memories he left them with.
But what about when a good, kind, but slightly messed-up friend accidentally OD's on drugs and alcohol after suffering a broken heart? What about the sweet young boy who found out too late that his new motorcycle was a little too much for him to handle? And what about the young mother you've worked with for 3 years who gets turned away by the local hospital (It's nothing!) and goes into fatal cardiac arrest the next morning? Harsh lessons to be learned here. Life can be a brutal teacher!
When I was her age, no one other than one aged grandma had died. Death was indeed something for the elderly, something that didn't usually touch the young. But these days, it seems all too familiar to our children.
Life is hard for today's kids: not the hard of having a hole in your winter boot or having to wear the same dress to the dance this month or even eating only mashed potatoes and canned peas for the third night in a row. These kids have serious hard! They grow up surrounded by the stressors of rising divorce rates, rising unemployment rates, Mom & Dad's finances, their body image, the need to wear the right clothes, terrorism, etc, etc. This is tough stuff. The stresses and pressures of their lives are HUGE compared to my generation.
There's not much I can do to make life easier for my grown children. But perhaps I equip them with slightly better coping tools than they'd have all on their own. As I teach them to become independent and to leave the nest, I can continually tell them I love them. I can also remind them of their God who loves them -- on their terms, not on mine -- and how prayer can help shift a heavy load.
I can give them opportunities where they can breathe easier; I can bring more laughter into their lives. I can keep on listening, speaking only when asked to speak (and trying not to judge. And when it gets just too much for them to handle on their own, I can give them a soft place to land.
Life is tough. But it's also a precious gift to be enjoyed for however long we have here on this mostly beautiful earth.
Let's remember to let the people we love know that we love them.