My First Encounter With Death

It seems like most people first encounter death when a childhood pet dies. Maybe this is untrue, but I feel like I hear that story more than most. As a child, I never had a pet for more than a few months at a time (generally) so that wasn’t the case for me.

Preschool. It’s a memory that is no doubt faded, warped, and skewed. The perspective of a six year old child is not reliable even to the very same person years later. In this blurred time of my life, I recall my teacher being Mrs. Marshall. All I remember is that she had gray hair. She was probably nice. Who knows, though.

One day we had a substitute teacher. The only thing I remember is the teacher telling us that Mrs. Marshall was very sick in the hospital.

My next memory is a funeral.

I don’t remember very much about it. The entire memory to me is simply one still frame of my teacher in a coffin and hearing myself ask why they had changed her hair from gray to brown.

It doesn’t seem like this encounter affected me much. I suppose it must have in some way. It’s one of only a handful of memories that my mind retained from preschool. I wonder if I would be any different if that had not happened…

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3 responses to “My First Encounter With Death

  1. Aunt Janet

    I am sure you would havve ended up being the same wonderful person you are today! 🙂

    My thougths on first encounters with death…I think if we are “lucky” enough to have a few encounters of aquaintance death (or even pet death) while we are young before we encounter the death of someone who is extremely close to us, we are in some ways strangely a little more prepared for the “traumatic death”.

    Although I feel we can never be truly emotionally prepared to lose someone who is a part of your heart, at least we have worked our way up to the event by dealing with lesser but similar emotions and kind of know what to expect in the whole funeral process.

    But I would speculate that the only thing that would make a person different after experiencing a death is if that death made the person look inwardly and question their own lives and the way they are living and what their priorities are etc… A death that causes that kind of inward assessment could change a person in some way.

  2. Aunt Mary

    I have had many encounters with death over the years.
    My first memory would be of those whom I did not know
    well. As a young person, I felt that I should feel a lot more
    sad than I did; but I did not have the relationship with them
    to produce the emotions that I saw around me.

    When Grandpa died, I was very sad (especially for Grandma)
    But on the other hand, I was so thrilled that he had trusted in
    Jesus – right on his deathbed. After all those years that he did not want to hear about God, it was wonderful to hear it relayed to me that he had asked for the preacher and gave a signal to Grandma that he had trusted Christ as his Savior.

    As the years past, I had heard and seen many deaths and funerals. My grandma died in 2002 and I was very distraught when I heard the news, but then thought I would be OK because of all the times she told us not to cry. Well, that didn’t work. I cried on and off for years. I did not cry because of the unknown, but because I am human and we miss those that we love and get to know on a personal basis.

    But 2009 was the hardest year when it came to
    saying “good-byes” There was no way for me to know God was preparing me to loose someone so dear to my heart. That summer, we attended my Uncle’s funeral.
    I was not ready to say ”good-bye” to Uncle Bill; but I suppose we are never ready! While at Uncle Bill’s funeral,
    we got a phone call that our beloved ANGEL (our first dog)
    had passed away. I never thought that losing a dog would be tough. It is not the same, but still difficult in it’s own way. We had a wonderful neighbor die at around the same time. Lastly, on Dec 20, 2009, I got word that my sister, who was only 42, had gone home to be with the Lord. Now, that is something you are not emotional prepared to grasp.

    Our lives sure ARE a vapor that appeareth for a little time and then vanisheth away. God’s timing is definitely not at
    all the timing I would have chosen, but He knows what is best! Yes, how can we go through an experience such as this without stepping back and taking a good look at our lives. What is really important?

  3. Cara!

    I often wonder how my life would be different if Zack (my brother) hadn’t died.

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