A couple of weeks ago as I was getting on the freeway, I noticed that the frontage road was closed, police cars with flashing lights making cars turn around on a busy Friday afternoon. “How inconvenient,” I thought, as I zipped away. But a few hours later, I approached the same freeway exit and the road was still closed. “Oh no, it must be really bad,” I said to myself, and whispered a tiny half prayer as I navigated my kids toward home.
It was really bad. We got the phone call the next morning that Steve, my very favorite of my husband Ed’s partners at work, had been hit head-on after a day spent snowshoeing in the mountains. For a few days, things looked bad but hopeful, but last Saturday, Steve died without ever regaining consciousness.
I hesitate to tell you that he was 61. Some might say that by 61, death isn’t a tragedy. For most of human history, 61 was a good old age. But Steve lived life with the energy and vibrance of a thirty-year-old, and the suddenness of his passing has put us in a thoughtful mood. When is death not a tragedy? Is the loss felt less acutely when the person isn’t a child (Steve was still someone’s child– his father came out to say final goodbyes to his son)? Does the promise of something better after make the passing easier?
This month at Segullah we’re dancing with death. In Julie Nelson’s archived poem, “Mortality,” the speaker yearns for what comes after life on this foreign planet, which seems not to feel like home. In “Out of My Hands,” Brandy Tingey writes about the drowning death of her young daughter, which was an experience full of loss and pain, to be sure, but also of sacredness and redemption and memory.
I found both of these pieces immensely comforting– both the idea that people can heal (changed, to be sure), and that we may feel even more at home than we do right now in our next phase of existence. I sure hope that Steve does.
Shelah Mastny Miner
Table of Contents:
“Out of My Hands” by Brandy Tingey
“Mortality” by Julie Nelson
Coming soon: archived content from the Spring/Summer 2012 issue
February 2014, no issue
April 2013 — Special Issue: 2013 Contest Winners
March 2013 — Special Issue: Mormonism and Disability
Featured Artist: Annie Henrie
Segullah Volume 9 Spring/Summer 2012
“Justice and Mercy”
Featured Artist: Amanda M. Smith
Featured artist: Cindy Ferguson
“Inside and Outside Marriage”
Featured artist: Maralise Petersen
Featured artist: Rebecca Wetzel Wagstaff
“Gifts of the Spirit”
Featured artist: Leslie Graff
Featured artist: Lee Bennion
“Palette of Light”
Featured artist: Sharon Furner
“Roots and Branches”
Featured artist: Mandi Mauldin Felici
Featured artist: Jacqui Larsen
Featured artist: Jamie Wayman
“Cleave Unto Charity”
Featured artist: Rose Datoc Dall
“Women Proclaiming the Gospel”
“Corridors of Change”
Featured artist: Claire Ferguson
“The Measure of Creation”
Cover art by Victoria Holt