My first experience with death was when my cat, whiskers died when I was 6 years old. Losing a pet in the first place is detrimental, and then to only be 6 years old, when the only people you are close to is your family and pets. I could tell you everything that happened. I woke up for school and my parents told me that my cat had died. She had been squished under the garage door and froze to death over night. Think about taking that in as a 6 year old who had never experienced death before. (I loved that cat.) I remember my brother and I burying her in our backyard in Buffalo, Oklahoma. We used a small piece of wood to mark her grave. My brother wrote R.I.P. on the wood and I remember asking what that meant. That was my first exposure ever to that acronym. He says it meant "rest in peace". I remember thinking he just made it up.
My first funeral was somewhere around 6 years of age. We were living in Buffalo, Oklahoma and as you know, my dad being a pastor, does funerals and weddings and confirmations and baptisms. So I was really little and someone died that my mom knew, so her and I went to the funeral, but sat up in the balcony because she didn't know the person that well. I remember seeing the casket and everyone crying and wearing black. It was a lot to take in as a young kid. I went to the cemetery and watched the burial etc.
Then growing up in Sabetha, Kansas I had my first experience losing a friend. I believe I was 14. A girl from my grade died. When there was only 70 people in my class, you knew everyone. Although I wasn't close with her, some of my friends were.
That is about the extent of my death experiences. I've never had a family member die or a very close friend. But the reason I bring death up is because this past week, 5 kids about my age have passed away. 2 from my high school. One from Sheboygan and 2 of my friends from MSOE have lost friends. 5 people (KIDS) in one week that I have known about. That seems like a lot. Anyways, it's an eye opening experience. It puts everything in perspective. Like I said to my mom; part of growing up is being young and reckless, but at what point to you go beyond that and danger your life? Doing stupid things in your car, doing drugs, alcohol....it's so dangerous and sad that teenagers aren't educated enough about these things. As my mom told me; "That's why it is best to live under the law. Obedience gives freedom. Hard to accept when you're a teen or young adult." And it's so true. It might be hard, I know first hand being a young adult. I've done stupid things, but there comes a point when you can look back and say, was that really smart? Nooo.
Okay enough ranting.
My condolences go out to all the family and friends dealing with losses of loved ones. It's okay to cry and talk about your feelings. And know that God will always listen.
Jesus replied, "You do not realize what I am doing now, but later you will understand."