On a whim…

Chaotic, esoteric, marginally coherent, stuff about life.

Death’s Anniversary

with 2 comments

Twenty years ago, and earlier this evening, Beth Batson Wilkerson departed from this life. That which remained was buried and that which persists has moved on. Even now we who remember wonder to where and to when did she go? In the geography of time and space there is no chart on which we can mark her destination but there are places in the heart where shadows tease us with what reason cannot deduce; A place where departed loved ones linger.

cemeteryI have not been idle these twenty years. Much has changed and, for now, much remains the same. I have a son, now. Like all of us he is curious about his origins and we often talk of how our family was shaped. Beth’s death and our grief is a prominent moment in that story as well as my present happiness. For years I struggled with how to speak of my two great loves: my wife and my late wife. My son seems to grasp this easily. He asks, “Would she like me?” To which I reply, “She would love you!” He states, “I wish she could be here but then we wouldn’t have Mom, would we?” I ponder this as he continues, “But maybe we could just be a bigger family than we are now.” I think, maybe that’s what heaven is, the biggest of all families.

Thus, life as we know it has gone on. I have discharged some responsibilities and, as I have just related, I have taken on new ones. I am not alone and that is how Beth wished it. I live, somehow, both in grief and in joy; Living a paradox founded on an irony.

It is a difficult for me today. I am compelled to accept these truths: I could not have been who I was without one and I would not be who I am without the other. My dreams are never the same and always the same. I can not have what I want and I want to keep what I have. It is as if life is conducted in the vestibule of a great house. All of the loves, the dramas, the moments of grief and ecstasy are lived out in discrete moments of “then” while I am sustained by a sense of waiting for “eventually”.

I imagine heaven as a state of being where our grammar is changed. Every “was” and all our “somedays” are transfigured into “now”. Past and present tense have no context and, deprived of time, they fade as all things mortal must. It is there that we, all of us, gather in the presence of the Almighty. We gather before One whose otherness renders us silent; Our once bountiful sense of time distilled into an everlasting “now”.
Those who have gone before us do not wait for us, we are they who wait restlessly for them. Our Lord said of himself that he is the Alpha and the Omega. In him, we find our First and Last, our Beginning and End.

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Written by David Wilkerson

27 November 2013 at 11:54 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Lovely thoughts, beautifully expressed.

    Jacqueline L. Malphrus

    1 December 2013 at 6:34 pm

  2. I have read this at least 5 times now….including once to our whole family at the gathering at Uncle Llloyd and Aunt Joy’s retirement community (where a total of 22 of us gathered). I also read it to my Monday morning study group this morning as a part of my devotion. It touched me at so many different levels! I love your writing (You are on the same level as Frederick Buechner in my opinion) and your words and thoughts are greatly appreciated and treasured!!! Jennie R.

    Jennie Weeks

    2 December 2013 at 1:16 pm


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