Sunday, March 02, 2008

Death on a Saturday afternoon

Last month, if you recall, I had the privilege of leading the memorial service for Edyth Johnson, a longtime member of our community. A few days before that memorial, I met with the family - the two sons, a daughter and her husband, and a granddaughter, Hildi.

While the kids did most of the talking, Hildi shared some of the more poignant stories, stories of visits to grandma in the weeks before she died. During our visit, Hildi didn't say much. But what she said was deeply moving, revealing a tender heart that was deeply in pain over the loss of a beloved grandmother.

Yesterday, the highway was closed just past our house and the church, due to a fatal accident. Like most people, our immediate reaction was "hope it wasn't somebody we know." Which is instantly followed by a guilty feeling, not wishing to hope that tragedy on anybody else.

This morning's paper revealed the answer. Hildi Johnson crossed the center line on the highway, struck a pickup head-on, and died at the scene. She was only 25. Much too young, much to sweet. She had too much remaining to say to the world.

This family will soon be saying goodbye to another. Pray for them, if you have the chance.


Russ said...


That is so tragic...our prayers are with the family.

In HIS Grip,


Beth B said...

How your hearts must be aching!

Dan, isn't it a bittersweet position, as their pastor, both to usher these two women from this life, and act as a midwife for them into the next? May the Lord give you Christ's courage and hope as you minister to their families.

P.S. Your blog entry title reminded me of this book:
Death on a Friday Afternoon: Meditations on the Last Words of Jesus from the Cross by Richard John Neuhaus

"Here, here at the cross, is the real world, the axis mundi," Neuhaus writes. The passing of women like Edyth and Hildi drive us out of our mindless routine to "bring us to our senses." Peace to their memory, and peace to you who remember them, on the other side of the axis.

Sherry said...


What a heart felt sentiment.

My husband and I were coming home from a trip to Gig Harbor that afternoon, we were directed to Cornwall as an alternate. I was relieved, from what little I could see, that neither vehicle was a little Acura that my daughter drives daily up and down the peninsula.

But, yes, with sudden guilty feelings, hoping no ill on others. I was really hoping the occupents of both cars were ok.

This is surely sad news, my heart goes out to you, always in our prayers.

Lakebay resident...

Anonymous said...

i love you hildi, we had some real good times together. i cant wait to see you again someday. god bless you and your soul, love, nicole