So it does happen in threes. But it's so much more than threes.
Matt's grandmother. A friend of my mother's. A family friend who was grandmother, mother, and sister to all. Within a week we found ourselves surrounded by it: death.
It happens, right? This is the deal. We eat the fruit, we die. As much as everyone enters the world through mother's womb, everyone eventually leaves it.
[I struggle to understand this beautiful dichotomy: death for us leaves the hole of absence, but death for them brings the glory of wholeness.]
But still, it's shock stings. It always leaves a mark of regret and sadness. There is wondering and forgetting ("When did we last hug? What were my last words to him?"). It causes one to sit still and think and acknowledge that life and death are two faces on the same coin. We will all say goodbye - to a matriarch in her 80s or a missionary and mentor in her 70s or a passionate man in his 60s - with the squeezing of a hand or the touch of a casket.
And after death, in between funerals and memories, a birth. My friend's son arrives a wee bit early and I smile and remember, "Oh yeah... not just death. Life is happening, too." My emotions teeter-totter as I bump off the ground and float higher towards the sky. I have flipped the coin.
This is life, and we celebrate.