One of my grade school classmates died suddenly this week from some yet-unknown health issue. Eventually, after the autopsy is finished, family and friends will know what struck down the man liked by so many, but now all we can do is just wonder—and remember.
He was the class clown, often times the start of mischief in our boisterous large class of almost thirty students (all in one room those days).
In his adult life people knew him as a family man, auctioneer, their kid’s softball coach, and church leader who almost always had a smile on his face and a greeting on his lips.
At first, few in our community knew of his death because he did not live locally, then the news spread through phone calls, Facebook, etc.
While researching pioneers’ lives I’m come across situations like this where no one knows why a person died, or when it happened.
Unless it was an accident, or a known disease that was plaguing the community, an autopsy wasn’t performed on a deceased a century ago. The body was prepared for viewing at home, and then buried in a local cemetery. I found out it happened more than once to my ancestors while researching my Planting Dreams book series.
Can you imagine it happening to you along a wagon trail in the mid-1800s, with no time to stop and mourn, and knowing you would never visit that grave again?
Can you imagine receiving a black-edged envelope in the mail telling to you that your child or grandchild who immigrated to America, died months ago?
Sorrow for the one lost and the memories shared are the same whether a person died generations ago, or just recently.
It is just a sad fact of life…but at least today I can remember my friend’s smile…
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