Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
and things are not what they seem.
Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art; to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.
This has been a thoughtful, slightly melancholy day. The leader of the LDS church, Gordon B. Hinckley died last night, which has given me a chance to think of one kind of death-a peaceful passing at the end of a life fully lived. He served tirelessly, was unselfish, devoted and faithful. He was 97 years old. For him death was a release to be reunited with loved ones and rest from his considerable labors. There is little but admiration and a quiet recognition of the goodness of his life in a death like his.
Juxtaposed against those thoughts, I have been forced to think about another kind of death-the unexpected and terrible death of a young boy-only 10 years old-the son of a fellow PTA volunteer at my kids' schools. This is a beloved boy from a happy family. He had only a few years in the arms of his mother. I am grateful for the faith that I have that she can hold him again someday in another time and place. My hope and prayer for this friend is that she will be able to feel something of that same hope. If not now, in the raw, searing pain of first grief, then maybe soon. Maybe in some quiet moment when she has time to think about the glorious being that her boy is and realize that the life of such a soul cannot possibly be extinguished by mere death. Her heart will surely try to tell her that, and I hope she will believe it.