I have periods where I feel like death surrounds me. Being a 911 dispatcher, it’s quite a bit more than an average person where I hear about people who have passed. It comes in many terms with the lingo at my work.
Caller’s sharing that “my mom is dead”, “I hadn’t heard from my friend and I came over to check but I think they’ve passed”, or some sort of combination of these. I hear it on the radio from the responders, I read it in the major call emails in my department, and hear directly from the callers.
God has given me a great life outside of work which helps me to keep coming back to work and answering the next call. When people pass away from my personal life, that’s when I feel I’m surrounded and when I rely heavily on my faith.
The First week of January
The first week of January, it was a friend I met through The Human Impact. His name is Roy. When my friend Elisabeth called to let me know, at first I had to fight off guilt because it took a bit of time in my head to realize who Roy was. When I found his file in my mental filing box, all I could see was his big smile.
I remember the day I had met Roy but couldn’t recall when that was. Thank goodness for Instagram. I scrolled through and found the event that took place on May 16, 2019 where I had commented “I am so glad that we met Roy today!! What a nice smile.”
The Day I met Roy
It was a hot day. We had coolers filled with popsicles as we were finishing up an art book that was filled with art created by our friends on the streets and friends who are housed. We spoke for a moment and invited him to come join us. Most often people choose not to join us. I get it. It’s intimidating for a number of reasons.
Then he was there with us, eating a popsicle and letting a small smile escape his face. I forget how many popsicles he had but it was definitely more than 1. He didn’t have much to say and that’s ok because I didn’t either. We stood in the shade and enjoyed ourselves in a calming quietness. This is the most distinct memory I have of Roy.
I got to visit him a time or two when he lived at Bonton. I would occasionally send him cards/letters of encouragement. I heard of his journey from my friends at Human Impact.
It's Not the End
I’m sad that there are no more opportunities to meet and see Roy’s smile. I’m sad that I don’t get to feel his calmness and peace. I wish for so much more for his life here and his family that he leaves behind. I’m tired of death and hearing about it so much.
Life is overwhelming. These times make me appreciate that I have a Savior who has warned me that in this life I will have many troubles, but to take heart because He has overcome this world. Even while having all the power of God and still being fully human, he wept when his friend Lazarus passed away knowing he was going to bring him back to life here. I have a God who is near to the brokenhearted and collects my tears in bottles because they are precious to Him. Knowing that death does sting, it’s not the end.
The Hope I Have
I hope my friend Roy’s smile is even broader and more whole because he is no longer in this decaying body in this decaying world. I hope his transition into the next life was filled with peace and no pain. I know God is able to do that. He completed a sobriety program last month and was filled with hope for what laid before him. Relationships were being mended.
I hope that the hearts of his wife and kids are comforted as they grieve in different ways this man who was taken away from them in this life through death and prior to that taken away from them through his addiction. If they are telling themselves that this isn’t fair, they are completely right. It isn’t.
One day everything will be made right. We’re not there yet but it’s coming. Knowing in our minds that each day is a gift that none of us is promised and realizing how true that is are two completely different things.
Thank you God for allowing my friend Roy to remind me of that. Thank you for that day I met him and got to be a very small part in his story and he was a part of mine. Thank you for everlasting hope and the space to grieve.