On the edge of eternity

Forty-four years ago today, my mother drew her last breath.

She wasn’t feeling well and had gone to the doctor, but no one dreamed that she was about to step into eternity. She was only 52.

I was preparing to begin my sophomore year of college, a know-it-all 19-year-old. My sister was barely 13. When Mom gasped and her chest fell still, we were unable to revive her.

“Your mother’s heart stopped,” the doctor said quietly after he examined her.

It was a gentle way to describe a sudden and devastating death that would  shape our lives in countless and profound ways. In a heartbeat, everything changed forever.

This anniversary, always painful, carries an added sting as I mourn the deaths of two journalists in Virginia who were gunned down on live TV this morning as they worked a routine feature story.

The gunman, a self-described “powder keg” who had workplace issues with the two victims, took his own life after writing about the killings on Twitter and posting cellphone video on Facebook. Could anything trivialize human life more than this?

I grieve for Alison Parker and Adam Ward.

I grieve for their loved ones whose lives changed forever on Aug. 26.

I grieve for us all.

(Posted Aug. 26, not 27)

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