Thursday, May 01, 2014

Every 15 Minutes And The Death Of My Daughter

Today the high school called to inform me my daughter had passed away; they were sorry for my loss.  This is part of an exercise for Every 15 Minutes.   The program’s name was derived from the fact that in the early 1990’s, every fifteen minutes someone in the United States died in an alcohol-related traffic collision.  Per the website, 
“During the first day events the "Grim Reaper" calls students who have been selected from a cross-section of the entire student body out of class. One student is removed from class every 15 minutes….the student will return to class as the "living dead," complete with white face make-up, a coroner's tag, and a black Every 15 Minutes T-shirt. From that point on "victims" will not speak or interact with other students for the remainder of the school day.” 
As part of the exercise both parents and students are to write letters to each other along the lines of, “Today I died in a car crash.  Before I died I wish I’d told you…”  The question then is this: What would my thoughts be on the death of my daughter?

Here are some random thoughts bulleted:

  • I would be angry.  I would blame whomever was driving that got her killed.  I suspect there may be some self-directed anger as well; the normative “If only I’d…”
  • I have no regrets about things I should have done.  I was a great dad.  She made being a great dad easy.
  • My regrets would be for the future.  I’d miss seeing her grow up; the choices she would make, the friends she would choose, the boy she would marry.
  • It got me thinking about my current investment in “H.”  I need to pray for her more.  I really need to make certain to go through the list of things I want her to know before she’s on her own (changing oil, knowing parts of a car, balancing checkbook, sewing on a button—all the things I don’t do well).  I should make certain to affirm her as a person, daughter and female. 
 In the end this is a worthwhile exercise for any of us to go through.  We should evaluate before death our relationships with those in our inner circle.  I think it’ll only be worth it if you do it with guts and gusto.  A surface look will produce shallow results.  My hope is that the feedback we hear from ourselves will echo that which we desire to hear upon entrance into death, “Well done my good and faithful servant.  Enter into your rest.”

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