Maybe because the word is so short. Harsh. Permanent. Maybe because the term "passed away" lingers for a moment, so does the memory of the person in our minds and hearts. I honestly don't know.
Uncle Jamie playing softball with his daughters last summer.
Another new friend came over for dinner on Sunday night. His father died two years ago, his younger brother died when he was 18, and my friend had an older brother die in his crib before my friend was born. Let me tell you, my friend throws around the words "he died" like he would say "he took out the garbage." At first I was thrown off by his casualness, but my friend was not being casual in his regard for his dad and brothers, he's comfortable with their situation.
They're dead, and that's okay. Not ideal for my friend, but okay. And it's okay to say that they're dead, just as it's okay, and accurate, to say we are alive.
Of course I don't mean to be flippant towards the individual grieving process, but while dying is sometimes tragic and difficult, death itself does not have to be. There is hope and glory in death, and that's okay. It's not easy for us who must temporarily lose a loved one, but it's okay.
For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.
For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.
For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.
Romans 14:7-9 (emphasis added)
So, since I intend to practice what I preach...
My Uncle Jamie died on Saturday, and I will miss him, and it pains me knowing his wife, daughters, and grandchildren have to live the remainder of their time on this earth without him. My nephew Sam also died, and my heart still aches for him. And that's okay. Not great, but okay.