Death Is No Respecter of Anyone

We all suffer the grief resulting from the death of a loved one. Please tolerate me the fact of my loss. This is a tribute and an exhortation. 

My brother Bob died last week. All the things he was going to do will remain undone. All the places he was going to go will remain unvisited. All the things he was going to say will remain unsaid. All the love he was going to share will go unexpressed. All his hopes and dreams will remain in their own silent tomb unfulfilled. These are reminders that whether in the twilight years or the opportunistic years of youth we should in our own time “Gitter done.”

Death, the final arbiter has in God’s good time called his name.  

In the shadow of a giant Mississippi oak his grave is marked by a head stone shared by his wife Jean, adjacent to our revered parents Sibert and Genevieve Price, and his honored grandparents Charley and Fanny Dykes. They are together again. I will never join them there for we are now Georgians. A green plot on a Georgian hill awaits us.

Bob burst the boundaries that held us in our little home town and became a scholar in the School of Pharmacy at his beloved Ole Miss.  Upon graduation he practiced his craft in a store adjacent to the campus of the primary rival of his alma mater, LSU.

Miss him, sure, we talked twice a week. No one with whom we share the intimacy of childhood goes by without emotion trailing. Archived in the annals of time is this ageless truth: “Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.” 

We pastured cows and herded goats in the nearby acreage. We drank from the cool spring waters where the Indian maiden Osyka and her tribe drank. We walked the railroad track together to see which one could walk the farthest without falling off.

Francis Bacon said, “It is as natural to die as to be born.” Yet, facing our own death can be distressing if we are not prepared for it. Being prepared for it is necessary for no one gets out alive, and there is much more to come. To attain the better, much better, of the two options is life everlasting.

Perhaps the person who said we have responses to birth and death reversed is right. He suggested that we weep at the time of birth knowing the hardships ahead, and that we should be joyous at the time of death knowing the blessings awaiting.

Etched in my memory are the words learned in youth by which Bob (and I) sought guidance: “For by grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2: 8, 9.

From youth we shared an uplifting faith. Everyone thought one of the Price boys would be a preacher, but not this one.  

Within sight of his grave is the stately old triple gabled Nineteenth Century house in which we grew up together. Near the polished bannister down which we often slid  hangs a tapestry with a life influencing message we read daily: “Only one life, Twill soon be passed, Only what’s done for Christ will last.” I add my Amen.