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Monday, April 20, 2009

We received some difficult news last night. Our 25 year old nephew, my sister's son, Brad, has passed away. This was expected, not shocking, still bringing sorrow to the depths of our souls.
Brad was injured in an accidental fall on June 24, 2008. He suffered a TBI (traumatic brain injury) and went to surgery the next evening. Since then, Brad has been moved from the Neurology ICU, a Long-Term Acute Care Center, to a Nursing Home.
As I consider the past months since Brad's fall, I am once again, humbled by this family's response to this enormous tragedy.
Several images come to my mind today:
*On July 17, 2008, Brad's father's courageous acknowledgement when bad news was discussed. The doctor said "I know this is difficult news to hear", and the response was: "...and it must be very hard news to deliver as well."
*Our niece, Brad's sister, even amidst her deep sadness shared wisdom from her heart just before our Thanksgiving Feast in front of 30 family members.
*My sister, Brad's mother and the statement she made out loud within 48 hours of her son's accident: "I know God and I know, He knows me."
*Our son, Walker, Brad's cousin sharing the scripture reference Philippians 4:10-13, and stating that in all of his life, he had never seen a better example of this than the one set by his Uncle Rhys, Aunt Laura Lea and his cousin, Pamela.
All of this reminds me of a song from the play RENT. "525,600 MINUTES." Did you know that the young author of RENT was very sick and died before the opening night? This play, along with this song, spoke to the hearts of all who were blessed to be in the audience.
Why? Perhaps it is because everyone wants to experience a meaningful life while on this earth. We all want to take the minutes of our lives and make them count.

The song goes like this:

525,600 minutes.
525,600 moments so dear.
525,600 minutes,
How do we measure a year?

In daylights-in sunsets,
In midnights-in cups of coffee,
In inches-in miles,
In laughter-in strife.

In 525,600 minutes.
How do we measure
A year in the life?
How about love?
How about love?
How about love?
Measure in love.

Seasons of love.
Seasons of love.
525,600 minutes
525,000 journeys to plan.

525,600 minutes.
How do we measure the life
Of a woman or a man?

In truths that she learned
Or in times that he cried,
In bridges he burned
Or the way that she died.

It's time now-to sing out
Tho'the story never ends.
Let's celebrate
Remember a year in the life of friends.

Remember the love.
Remember the love.
Remember the love.
Measure the love.

Measure, measure your life in LOVE.
Seasons of love.
Seasons of love.

So as we remember Bradford Gordon Lamkie, born on April 16, 1984, we will measure his life in love.
It is with great assurance that I can say that the best things in life are not things at all.