Ed. note: the number in paragraph 5 was revised upward after I remember three friends who drowned some years ago.
All God's children are precious and we should grieve for anyone who dies, no matter how they die, yet there are circumstances that hit harder. We are more upset by violent deaths. We grieve even more when a young person dies. We attach deeper significance when there are multiple deaths. In a small town, death seems to hit harder because if you don't know the deceased, you may know the family, relatives, neighbors or friends.
My daughter called to say that a 20 year old woman who was in the same classes all the way through school was found dead yesterday. The circumstances haven't been made clear on the news, but the police are looking for "persons of interest." They are saying to be careful and lock the doors.
The girl's father comes from a very large family, so I know a number of the relatives and my son is good friends with several of the cousins.
My daughter mentioned on the phone that it seems that our town is cursed. I don't know if the number of young people who have died here is above the statistical average, but it is certainly true that there has been a lot of tragedy, deaths among young people, and accidental deaths in the last 7 years. Or maybe the numbers just seem so high because this is a very caring small town, and we all know the interconnections between people. I told my daughter that I wouldn't have known this young woman in the least if we had been in a city. I do, however, very often think about any victim being somebody's son or somebody's sister, etc.
Here are some personal numbers: my 23 year old son has had 7 friends or acquaintances die in the last 7 years. I've lived here 30 years; I can think of 22 people our family has known from this little town who have died of unnatural causes, accidents, etc.
I know that this will be extra difficult for so many families who have lost children. Please keep all these people in your prayers. The funeral will be at my church, so please pray for the pastor and church people as well. Thank you.
My previous essay on this topic is here.