We all know what happened to John Lennon. He was a talented, still young man when he was shot. The world was stunned by the sudden, unexpected event. “How could this happen” was the question on everyone’s mind. Some nut just appeared and took away all the love, all the talent, all the creation yet to happen. It was so random and unfair. No matter how people struggled to get their heads around it, it did not make sense. There were no explanations. For comfort, people joined hands and sang “Let It Be.” It was something to do.I have looked at our group family photos from our Fourth of July reunions and asked myself, who might not be there next time. Numerous have had life threatening medical issues. When we have shared this with friends, they’ve said, “We’ll pray.” Sometimes a casserole would show up. I appreciated their intentions, but prayers and casseroles make me nervous. When people start talking prayers and casseroles, I feel like maybe things really will turn out badly. Maybe it’s worse than I think or out of control! Like the near miss of a whizzing bullet, each time one of the family has dodged a mortal catastrophe, my circuits jammed with terror. I’ve wanted to believe I could influence the outcome with substantial action; prayers and casseroles seemed so flimsy.
We recently got a call that this time, it wasn’t just a close call; one of us had caught the bullet. Our cousin, Nancy Lovetere had died. Of all of us, she was one of the most unlikely. She took fabulous care of herself and ran every day. She wore huge, silver starfish earrings, silly ankle-breaker, girlie shoes and hot pink lipstick. At sixty, she had a navel piercing and a killer body to sport that absurdity. She always had a big smile. She was a writer with plans for stories to tell and she had grandchildren. Her death was stupid and outrageous at the hand of a bungling surgeon. “The colon was nicked,” was the minimizing explanation. The senseless randomness of her death leaves me feeling vulnerable and small, so very small. I have thought about God and taking better care of myself. Maybe a prayer or a casserole would be just the thing.