All Hallows Eve, One Year Ago

As we enter into this new Fall Season, the days are getting shorter and night is more apparent, Halloween costumes, decorations and sentiments are all around us. And as the cool breezes begin to replace the once hot and humid days of summer, I am taken back to right around this time last year. I was just beginning my adventures here at UBC, meeting friends, experiencing life in Hattiesburg and learning what this new position would hold for me. I was finding my way here and wondering which way things would go with my uncle back home.

Just one year ago, my uncle was awaiting a double lung transplant. He had gone from short winded at times to nearing the end of his breaths. Six times he had received the call that there were lungs awaiting him, six times he had taken the trip to Chapel Hill where he was to undergo surgery, and six times he had been sent back home. Then, on Halloween day, as I was preparing for an All Hallows Eve at UBC, I answered my phone to hear that there had been a seventh call and my uncle was being prepped for surgery. It would be extensive, and we wouldn’t know the outcome for many hours.

Entering the still, quiet UBC sanctuary that night, I prepared to hear the stories of the Saints. I stared into the glow of the crackling fire on the altar table, and I thought of the surgical room where my uncle laid, the team of doctors hurriedly and precisely working on his body. As I sat in the still and quiet of that dim room, I thought of the hurry, worry and wait of the hospital—of my aunt and cousin in the waiting room and others of us all around. I thought about the person whose body was now void of breath, and those lungs that would somehow give new breath, new life, to my uncle whose breath was running out.

This year, as the names of the Saints of UBC are called out in the service, I will be in Charlotte, NC, celebrating the one year anniversary of new life’s breath for my uncle. But in all the life and celebration this anniversary holds, it also holds a deep reality of death and loss. So, as I celebrate my uncle this season, giving thanks for the life he has been given and for the gift he is to me, I also remember the life that was lost and the family whose one year anniversary is a more somber occasion. I hope for peace for the family who grieves, and mark their loved one as a Saint. As we remember all those who have gone before us, offering gifts of life through their own, I give thanks for the lives informed, strengthened and continued because of them.

Peace to you all,