Wednesday, September 19, 2007

When Young People Die

A friend came to me recently after attending a funeral for the 18 year old sibling of one of her best friends. She expressed to me how difficult the funeral was for her and how helpless she felt to console her friend. She asked me what can be said in such a situation. It is difficult for anyone to find the right words in such a situation. I have been through similar experiences. When I was 29 years old, my younger brother in law was killed by a drunk driver. A few years later a child in my neighborhood died in a house fire across the street from where I lived. Another time the only son of a good friend died of cancer at age 20. When my youngest son, Nick, was 17 years old, his best friend died unexpectedly the day after spending the night at our house. Each time I felt helpless as I struggled to find words for a sister in law, a neighbor, a friend, and my son. It is always difficult to deal with the death of a young person. None of us understand why such things happen. If God has anything to do with it, I don't understand what He's thinking. What's his purpose? What's the point? Why is such sorrow brought upon spouses, parents, friends, and relatives? Sometimes I shudder when, in such circumstances, I hear people say, "It's God's will". I don't like to let God off the hook so easily. There is probably a very thin line between what God wills and what God allows. I will accept the fact that many things in life are a mystery and one can have lengthy theological discussions about God and evil and why bad things happen to good people. I don't understand everything that happens in life and I certainly cannot give my friend or others easy explanations for why 18 year old's die and other's live to be 100 years old. Do the good die young? Yes, sometimes. Do bad people live long lives? Yes, sometimes. Do some of us live long lives because we need a lot of time for a deep spiritual transformation to take place within us? This is very likely. Life really is a mystery. It is not likely we will solve it's mystery this side of the grave. Through faith we believe and trust that our lives and the lives of others, no matter how short, have a purpose and life is not just a series of random, meaningless experiences. I must believe that life and pain have meaning and someday I hope understand it. Part of the mystery of life is that we never know when it will end. This should motivate us to live each day well and to the fullest.

19 comments:

gaurav said...

hi michael,

i am a guy of 22. well, read your article, but didn't find the answer. but, still its good and tells me rather there are a lot of people who didn't knew the answer.

Could you solve my problem?
You know, i am quite emotional. And, when young people die, and if they are near ones, i have to cry. My mind just manipulates from start to end-- who will be effected out of it, what would be the emotions into his family members and all manipulations which are possible and then i have to cry a lot. then only i feel relaxed.

i am a spiritual person. i love people , life and everybody. i love being a common man. i love being me and me.

but i am quite depressed with the happenings in this world and all bla bla bla. its my mind.

what to do?

lady tee said...

thank you for your article. it brings me some comfort in the wake of an untimely death of a friend that no one can explain medically or spiritually. God challenges us to trust him especially when things don't make sense.

Prash said...

Hi Michael,
I am a 23 year old girl and I lost my mom 2 months back.She was only 48.I read your article and liked it but still did not get an answer to my question that why did my mom leave me so early???
Many people believe that whatever happens , happens for some reason., we all are born with a purpose on this earth and once that purpose is fulfilled we all have to go...
but what about those who die very young and have hardly done anything on this earth??
I am totally depressed after my mom's demise and desperately looking for an answer to these questions...
I hope you can help me..

Tiedyedmystic said...

Dear Prash,

I wish I had an answer for you. I have thought about you all day today. Your note touched me deeply and I feel your sadness. Deaths such as your mother's are a mystery to us all. I lost my father about a year ago but he was elderly and his passing seemed natural. When the young die I, too, wonder why they left so early. I wish you peace and sorry I couldn't be more of a comfort.
Michael

Anonymous said...

My youngest brother died 2 months ago. He was 31, he was diagnosed with acute leukemia and died only 17 days later after a very aggressive chemo treatment. He was just beginning to accomplish his dreams. He left a wife, a 6 year old and an unborn baby. He realized his dream of becoming a commercial pilot after long hours of training, studying and very hard work.We were all so very proud of him, his funeral was full of people saying how inspirational his journey had been. He had dreams of accomplishing even more. Everyone in our family is devastated, the disease came out of nowhere and took him from us like a strong wind takes a leaf away. But this is life, was he always sick and we did not know it.? Was this his time because he accomplished something.?

I have asked those questions a thousand times, I have searched for answers...but the only answer is that we are flesh and bone and that our bodies give up unexpectedly...it may not have anything to do with God or his will. Death is a part of life but we chose to ignore it, specially when we are young. The important thing is to not have regrets after a loved one is gone. Nobody knows when the time to go comes, but we should always be prepared. Don't let time go by without saying a loving word or telling somebody how important they are.

I saw my brother while he was in treatment, I talked to him to reassure him on the chances of recovery. I wanted to donate bone marrow but we did not make it that far. I told him he would be ok, I believed what I said. I told him how much we all loved him and that we would be together for the holidays because he would be much better by then. He knew we were scared, but he also knew that we loved him very much.

sweetu said...

Everyone of us are here in this world for some purpose,no matter whats behind us or for us, as soon as the purpose is fulfilled, we had to leave.
I have never met that woman but everytime i think about her, i cried. Her husband expired on 23 April 2011 leaving her and a little baby girl, 3-4 yr old, alone. God left her with no options.....
Rather i have some suggestions to make to the Almighty.

" Oh God, if you are listening, Either you let the person to complete their purpose at an older age Or Let them Live with no purpose... No matter they are in the world for nothing but they can be The Reason for other's happiness....."

nagasree said...

I dont find answer from your article,iam 23 old women marries 6 months ago,my husband was such a nice person always with a helping hand and smile on lips,as i know him for the past 5 years....i lost my husband in a tragic accident....iam totally down,i dont understand why god take a good young people leaving old people on earth,please reply

Tiedyedmystic said...

I am so sorry for the loss of your dear husband. I can only imagine your sorrow and I wish I could give you words that would comfort you. I cannot. My article was my own effort to understand such tragedy. Unfortunately I cannot explain such losses in any rational way. So much of life is a mystery to me. Even with faith there is so much we cannot comprehend. I hope that with time your sorrow is less painful.

Wishing you peace!

Michael

Anonymous said...

The answer to the article is not really simple and can never be complete. There are certain things that we will never understand. I have few answers, but I will mention only one. As a believer and a logical thinker, we are in this world as passengers (it’s a real fact that everyone can see). We just prepare for the hereafter which is eternal. Now why some people die young and some die old. Obviously God wants us to be good and do good deeds at all times. If we all die at age of 100, then we all wait until we are really old then we start thinking about the hereafter, but since no one knows the end of his life then we should be good to others at all times, do good deeds at all times, and be ready at all times. If everyone things this way then the world we live in today would be a much better place. Some people learn their lesson when they see young people die and other people don’t learn anything. I really have many things to say, but I am not a great writer and it will take me many pages to explain every thing.
Merzak

Anonymous said...

Some die young, some not so young and others very old. Partly I believe that when our tasks are done we move on, but another part of me believes that there are great lessons for the living in the death of a good young person who gave his all to life. It tells people that selflessness and living to the full are conpatable with inocence and goodness. It gives the faint hearted an example to follow and the corrupt pause to think.

AS for the person who has died, I suggest that they have other work to complete on other planes. They have no more time to spend with us and must away.

ashley117 said...

I am 25 and lost my younger brother who was 20 to a heroin overdose sept 2010. I still question why, because inside he was the most compassionate, smart and so many other good things. He was my best friend. Why does god do this? It questions my faith? It kills me inside I feel so guilty. I just want to know why? They do take the good young...
Ashley

sco3776 said...

Thank you this has helped me a lot. A girl that I went to dance with growing up recently was in a fatal car accident. Even though i was never close with her growing up, it effected me tremendously and I couldn't figure out why I was so strongly affected if I barely knew her. I figured out though that it was the fact that it was the first time I was even remotely close to someone my age who passed away. I have always been an emotional person and feel remorse for her because it was someone who I looked up to as a child.

The IT Novice said...

I've just lost a former student to cancer. She was such a bright, friendly and adventurous person, always so full of life. She has just graduated as a doctor and has a whole life in front of her. Then she was taken from us so suddenly. It was such a shock. I don't have the answer why she died so young (she was only 24) but found some comfort in this
http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/1388654/jewish/Why-Do-Some-of-the-Best-Die-Young.htm

Anonymous said...

I was so happily married to my soul mate, my life partner for 16 blissful years. We had a wonderful life together. My husband always wanted to become a pilot. He achieved his dream in 2008, then went onto instructing for a few years. I encouraged him to get his multi engine rating and instrument rating last year. He studied hard and achieved these goals and was thrilled to land a job as a commercial pilot last October. Everything was just perfect, he had his dream job. Then 2 months ago I lost him when his plane crashed in bad weather. He was 41 and had just accomplished his lifes dream. I have been riding an emotional rollercoaster since that tragic day and keep asking Why? I believe we all set our destiny before our soul incarnates onto planet earth and once you achieve that goal, your soal simply moves on. Life on earth is a playground for learning and education. Souls come to earth with a purpose - they plan in advance what they want to learn, and with whom. They make 'soul contracts' with their intended partners to learn specific lessons from each other. When those lessons are complete, the soul moves back into the spiritual plane and either stays there for a new purpose (maybe as a spirit guide), or they choose to incarnate again, after selecting a new set of desired learning to be achieved in their next life on earth. My husbands goal was to become a commercial pilot. He achieved that, and he had a very fulfilling, happy and busy 41 years on earth. I know I will meet him again some day and I know he is still around me, helping me through this emotional and difficult time. I wrestle with the reality of my loss, and the spirituality side. I must admit that my belief in spirituality has really helped me cope with this situation. I know he is happy, in complete awe of where he is right now, and has accepted his position on the higher concious plane. I wish everyone who has lost a loved one, whether young or old, be at peace with their loss, and recall the memories and achievements of your loved one, for it is that which they were here to do. They will forever be with you.

Michael Brown said...

Dear Anonymous,

Thank for your wonderful response to my blog. I am sorry for your loss and very moved by your words. I appreciate you taking the time to read my thoughts and for sharing yours.

Michael Brown

Anonymous said...

On Friday i lost one of my dearest friends and I'm lying in bed and my mind is spinning! Turns out the accident took the lives of 3 beautiful people all in their very early 20s. Why does this happen? Your article consoled me because it represents the confusion and questioning i feel and the shock and honestly the brutal truth that life is so short! I always hear that and never take it seriously! I am petrified of the tragedy involved and I'm so ridiculously angry that this happened! I can hear a million times that maybe his journey was completed but I dont understand that someone has to tell his daughter that dad isn't coming back! This is a sick twisted sense of humour! I can justify everything I say that maybe he is in a better place or on his spiritual journey but in my reality I can't believe that! Why do his family have to go through this and his friends? How do I say goodbye to someone who taught me so much and held my hand when times were tough? I need him now to get through something this hard!

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Anonymous said...

Hi Michael,

A friend's son, who happens to be my daughter's ex-boyfriend died in a car accident this week. He was only 19 years old and on his way home from church. He was one of the kindest, sweetest and nicest boys that I knew. He came from a loving family. My daughter and I can't understand or make sense of the fact that he died so young in such a tragic way. Why do things like this happen to someone so young and so good? We are not religious and when people tell us that "he's in a better place" it upsets us more because how do we know that's true? How do we deal with this and accept his death?