A Time to Mourn

Scriblerians meet-up in Texas

As we’re officially in 2017, I truly hope there are fewer deaths than what we experienced in 2016. Especially for those who are into geeky fandoms and/or those who came of age in the 70s and 80s.

Early in the year, Alan Rickman who will always be Professor Snape lost his battle with cancer. The year ended with the passing of Carrie Fisher. In between we lost 80s musicians David Bowie, Prince, and George Michael as well as The Eagles’ Glen Frey.

That was nothing compared to the deaths that hit much closer to home. The picture above tells so much about how death touched my world in 2016. What you see and what you don’t.

This photo was taken last March with the Texas contingent of our young adult writing group, The Scriblerians. Standing are Lisa Godfrees and Vanessa Morton. I’m sitting next to Cynthia Toney.

What you don’t see are the tears I’m holding back because of the message I’d just received. I was going to have to break the news to my 8 year old that her best friend’s mom had died.

Before we would return home from spring break, our small church community would be rocked by another tragic death. This time the loss of a family patriarch in an accident.

Just a few weeks later one of the Scriblerians messaged us to meet the evening before our scheduled monthly call. Through tears, we learned the reason for the impromptu call. Vanessa had passed away unexpectedly.

While I was especially saddened by Alan Rickman’s death for multiple reasons as well as Carrie Fisher’s, it’s those who I knew personally that touched me most deeply. The close friends who lost a father,  grandfather, husband, mother, daughter, wife.

When recall the deaths of 2016, I think of those I knew personally. I’m thankful I was able to see Vanessa in March. Little did I know when standing next to her in church that our next meeting will be worshiping in God’s presence.

Which celebrity death of 2016 surprised or affected you the most?


About Gretchen E K Engel

Chemical engineer by day, spec fiction writer by night

4 comments on “A Time to Mourn

  1. While I appreciated Alan Rickman as an actor and felt the loss of Professor Snape, like you, my friends moving on to the LORD have touched me the closest. The passing of my friend Jim in October after visiting him in Sept., and the rapid decline of another friend as I write this, makes me aware of the gaping heart holes left by friends and family. I pray we all find God’s peace to deal with the losses.

  2. No personal losses in 2016, so in that regard, it was gentler than the last few previous years.
    As for celebrities, yes, Alan Rickman, but also Gene Wilder and William Christopher. And a couple of authors I enjoyed as well: Richard Adams (Watership Down, Shardik, etc.) and Umberto Eco (Foucault’s Pendulum, The Name of the Rose).

    All passings remind us that whether great or small, famous or unknown, we have a finite journey through this world. It’s not our destination.

    My hope is that those who’ve moved on arrived in the Father’s presence.
    My prayers for those still in this world is that He wraps His loving and consoling arms around them and gives them peace in the midst of mourning.

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