This past week, a very good brother in my Raymond ward/congregation, who I respected and admired very much, was painting his house, and for what ever reason, he fell off the ladder and died. When I heard this awful news I first rejected it and said no that is not possible, that can't be true, maybe you heard wrong. Did you get the name right? That's not right! Then it sinks in and your stomach goes completely hollow. Kind of a buzzing fills your ears and your mind just can not wrap itself around the fact that this wonderful man is gone. You won't see him at church and laugh and talk with him about your life or work with him in a calling ever again. Now can I just preface this next comment with the stages of grief cause I have been through them a few times and unfortunately I always get to the anger one at the worst possible moment, but that's where I am tonight- in the anger phase. I did shock and denial, I did pain, but now I am in the anger, bargaining stage. Mad that such a wonderful human being is gone and mad that there are really crummy people still here- Let's make a deal, take so and so instead....OH MY GOSH DID I JUST SAY THAT OUT LOUD??? Yup, I did. But at least I am honest about it. Do I get credit for that?
But that is the hard part. Accepting that there are good and not so good folk all over this world and we don't get to choose when who goes and who stays. GOOD THING, EH! If we got to choose each others exit dates, I'd be long gone. Folks would have given up on me years ago. Hmmm- maybe that is why the good die young. They got it right and did what they were supposed to do and learned what they were supposed to learn so they get to blow this popsicle stand and go on to bigger and better things? The rest of us still have some learning and growing to do? Is it a test for us? Does it strengthen our faith? All of the above? I think that when I get mad because someone I love dies it's mostly me being mad at me. Mad that I don't take more time to know people better, and now they are gone and you blew your chances- well not entirely in this case, I did get to know this fine man, but mostly in a church setting. I should have been on more personal terms and dang it now there's no time left for that! Angry! Mad that I don't do all the things I know I should do, that he did. Mad that it seems so unfair but if we could see the big picture, we'd understand, but darn it we just have to go by faith and hope. Can't we just see a corner of the big picture? Just a peak? Maybe we do and we don't always realize it. Do we realize that big picture and see we aren't fitting into it very well? oh dear, look at me in that big big picture- I am falling off a cliff! Barely hanging on to a tree branch, or maybe I am just standing there dazed and confused, deer in the headlights. Or shooting my mouth of yet again! Do not pass go, turn around, go back and get it right, dummy! That would be mua!
Can you even imagine what this would be like for people who don't know that there is life after this??? SHOOT, WE SHOULD BE TELLING THEM!!!
Thankfully this "mad" stage always passes, quite quickly I have found ( thanks to the teachings of my Mormon faith by the way!) and then there's a bit of a reflection stage, which is also where I am tonight- thus the incoherent ramblings you see before you.
I am reflecting on life, death, good, bad, heaven, and earth and all that goes on behind the scenes in all those places that we haven't the slightest inkling of. We don't know what goes on in other peoples lives. That's why you try really hard not to judge- it's hard but I am slowly making progress there. I slip up...lot's... but I am at least more aware of it now, aware that it's harmful and unproductive. We don't know what makes a person "good" or "bad" so we don't get to bargain and say take that guy and leave us Mark. Seriously, God would that be so bad? Did you need him that badly? Apparently, yes he does. You got a good one, God. I know I am not supposed to judge, but yep, I'm just going to go out on a limb here and say that Mark's a good one!
We then have to get to the working through stages which unfortunately for his family will take a long time. For the rest of us, we get over it a bit sooner. We aren't faced with it day in and day out. That's the heartbreaking thing tonight though. You know, empathy is really a bummer sometimes!
But thankfully, though be it at different times, we will all come to the acceptance and hope stage of grief, the last stage, because that is what we do as people of faith. We accept and hope to be reunited after this life.
Guess what world. I know I will see my friends and family again. They are with their friends and family who died before them. I know that because I have had a personal witness that this is the way it is! Because Our Savior Jesus Christ died for us so that we could be resurrected and live again. You can take that to the bank...or not- your choice, but you can't say I didn't tell you, cause I just did!!!
Rest in peace Mark (Allyskin) Ellingson. Pfff... that guys not resting, believe me- he's working and working hard! You go Mark!!!