Tuesday, January 07, 2014


Today, I ordered flowers for the funeral of one of my college roommates.

We're too young for this.

Four of us lived together in half of a side-by-side duplex built by a developer with more plans than money. Not withstanding the grandiose name "Daniels Court", it was a wide patch with a gravel drive and four duplexes plunked around it, surrounded by scrub brush. But as far as student off campus housing goes, it really wasn't too bad.

The four of us met through Intervarsity Christian Fellowship a couple of years before we ventured out of campus housing. We had similar world views, faiths and majors (which helped, since the duplex was close to the business building).

From the beginning we deliberately worked to make our place the unofficial, off campus hub for IVCF activities. We held a party the first weekend of the semester, not just to see our old friends, but so that we could get caught up with one another before the big picnic a week or so later. Freshmen and others would come to the picnic check out the organization; having already reconnected with friends, we were much better hosts to the newbies. From what I last knew, the tradition of that party lives on.

Bible studies met in the apartment four out of five weeknights. Once dinner was finished and dishes done, three of the four of us would head to the library or the student union while the fourth stayed to host and/or lead a study.

We worked out a scheme for dinner for Monday to Thursday, where we pooled our cash for supplies. We each took one night to cook, while another roommate washed dishes and did clean up. We'd catch up on our days around the table, but more than that, we'd have someone over to share a meal at least once a week, as the budget allowed.

Beyond reaching out to others, we supported one another. Just as dinner time was sacrosanct (I honestly can't remember any particular meal any one of us missed - even when we may have had night classes), our before bed prayer time was something we never skipped.

Even then, I was a morning person; I will freely admit that it was sometimes difficult to keep focused during a prayer session that began at 10:30 p.m. But again, we rarely skipped it.

Barb sparkled. People were drawn to her, and that was one of the reasons our duplex became a meeting place. She studied hard, but knew when to place people above academics. It's impossible to know exactly why that sparkle dimmed, what drove her to alcohol in spite of a loving husband and two great kids. Whatever the hurt that propelled her down that path, it's healed now, as she walks with Jesus.

Here, the healing takes longer. Wife, mother, sister, friend - she's gone, but the impact of her choices remain. Prayer, the passage of time and perhaps some counseling will help the process.

Me? I'm not sure what I feel. Loss, regret, compassion for the family. It feels wrong to be dealing with the death of a peer, as if that should be an event still well in my future. As to be expected, a rather close look at my own mortality, and the brevity of our life on this earth.

Truly, not thoughts I expected to have at this age.


melissa said...

When friends have died before me I'm always struck by the thought of why I was given more days than they were. 'Course that's what we all wonder. Hopefully it's made me more thankful, but that's not always the case.

I am sorry for your loss. It just plain hurts.

Francesca Watson said...

I am so sorry for your loss.