A Matter of Life and Death

We all die. Life is a terminal illness. Everyone will die and we are not in control of when that will happen, in most cases. “Life is the most comprehensive danger of all”. (Dr. John MacArthur, 2020)

If you are a Christian and have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior then death means something completely different. In death, as a Christian, we have hope and we know that we will be with our Savior once death greets us.

I was just a little boy, around 8 or 9 when my first grandparent passed away. Emary Franklin Bryant Sr. He was in his early 60’s when he died of a massive heart attack. He was taken way too early and way too fast. I never really got to know him but his legacy continues even today. I proudly carry his name in full and my son carries his first and last name. I’m proud of my namesake and it’s history and heritage. I didn’t lose another grandparent until April 2011 during the massive tornado outbreak. It was a turbulent time. Dealing with hospital visits between storms and getting called into work.

Between Thanksgiving 2019 and Christmas that same year, my mother in law went to the doctor because she lost her voice and had a cold. She was diagnosed with lung cancer. That cancer spread so rapidly that she never got a chance to have her first treatment and on 21 March 2020, she died in her home.

At the same time, my other grandfather, William Hoyt Ownby, was battling his own health issues. He had fallen a few weeks ago and had hip surgery. He was almost mobile when he had a stroke and went back into the hospital. With the coronavirus (COVID-19) in full swing, the family was limited on the ability to visit him in the hospital. Last night he was moved to a Hospice Center and placed on comfort care. As my daughter and I entered his room to see him, for what may be the last time, he was sleeping peacefully. While I am sad that he is close to leaving this world, I’m joyful because of the hope we have in Jesus. I know, as sure as I am sitting here typing this, that I will see him again someday.

I recall running around his garage as a little boy. I remember overhearing him talking to someone and, being a Korean War Veteran, he said that he believed every young man should serve their country. I never forgot those words and next month, I will celebrate 21 years of being in the U.S. Navy. Before I left for boot camp, he and I sat in a wooden swing in his front yard and he assured me I was making the right decision. His only advice was to get everything I could. I’m proud to say that he was able to pin on my Anchors when I made Chief in 2013 and I’ve since made Senior Chief. I hope I’ve fulfilled his charge.

Death is certain. It is the only certain thing in this life. Be kind to one another. Be humble and realize that tomorrow is not promised and neither is our next breath.