Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Life is Fragile

By Susan Esther Barnes

I spent a couple of hours this afternoon at the memorial service of a man who died suddenly, and too young. Parents should not have to bury their children in any case, but a week ago this man, his parents, his wife, and his young daughter all thought he was fine, and now he's dead.

In a remarkable service, with over 800 people in attendance, we learned that although he technically was survived by only a couple of siblings, an astonishing number of men considered this man to be their brother.

From the boy he met in grade school by throwing rocks at him, to his brothers-in-law, to his work colleague, we heard story after story of his sense of humor, his kindness, his generosity, his gift of expressing interest in people and making them feel at ease.

But one day last week he realized something was wrong, and he went to the hospital, and within days he was gone. And in his final act of generosity, he donated his organs, giving life to others who will now be able to go on to leave their hospital beds, and hug their families, as he will not.

I was grateful to the rabbi for saying he does not believe the death of this man was God's will, but that it was an accident of nature. He said God did not will it that this man's daughter should grow up without her father or that the rest of his family and dear friends should lose him so soon.

It serves as a reminder to us all: Life is fragile. Be thankful for today. We never know what tomorrow may bring.


  1. Life is way to fragile....cherish everyday you have with your loved ones. My cousin passed away on Wednesday and he was only 23. Very hard to deal with!!

  2. My condolances regarding your loss. May you find strength and comfort to carry you through.