I learned today that a long-time colleague of mine, Dion Gillard, passed away back in September. Although I knew him only electronically, we participated together on a close-knit mailing list for many years.
He had melanoma and wrote a bit about it here. I looked at photos he had posted over the years, some of them eerily peaceful when viewed in light of his passing.
Many people on the email list have expressed regret that we did not notice his departure until now, 3 months after his death. That is sad evidence indeed of the state of our too-busy, information-swamped society, but I feel something else...
For some reason, even more than the lose of Dion himself, I feel sadness for his children. I'm feeling the kind of deep sadness and sense of hopelessness as I did yesterday watching a performance by Eric Clapton; I was wondering how Clapton could ever experience happiness again after losing his young son years ago. Now I find myself wondering how Dion's children (and wife?) will ever feel happiness after losing their dad and husband.
As scary a thought as my own death is, I think I fear even more the thought of losing my wife or son. To me, the ones left behind continue to suffer more after the dying have rested, and that saddens me. It saddens me so much that I am near tears for a family I have never met and don't know the first thing about.
To the Gillard family, my prayers are with you; know that God hears them.