“No one can control the day of death.” Ecclesiastes 8:8

By the time her husband went missing, Nancy had already lost two family members. Her older sister tragically died in an auto accident. Jean was riding in the front seat, but for some reason went to the back and instead offered her friend a seat in front. This decision cost Jean her life. The car was rear ended and she was killed instantly.

The following year, Nancy’s 21-year-old, perfectly healthy, handsome son, suddenly and unexpectedly dropped dead while cheering the home team at a sports event with friends. The autopsy revealed an undiagnosed, congenital heart anomaly.

How they managed to get through it all, Nancy doesn’t know. She and Kevin were numb and in disbelief, not only that they would never see their son again but that they never even had a chance to say goodbye.

Beyond those tragedies, Nancy was yet to suffer the most devastating one of all.

It happened one day when Kevin rode off on his bike. It was as usual, since he had been a cycling enthusiast all his life. Only this time, he didn’t return that afternoon. Nancy and her daughter worried but joked about a mid-life crisis. They knew he was fine and that he would return by later that evening.

When Nancy awoke the following morning, he hadn’t returned. She called the police immediately and filed a missing person’s report. Unfortunately, Kevin didn’t carry any ID. They called nearby hospitals also, but all to no avail.

Before he left, Kevin had tied his hair neatly in his customary pony tail, belying his 53 years. He had shown no signs of unhappiness or of a crisis, where he would want to abandon Nancy and their teenaged daughter. Nancy was sure of it.

The police suggested that Nancy check back and she did, but the response was always that no one matching Kevin’s description had been transported by ambulance from or near the Cypress Creek area on the night he disappeared to the hospital or to the morgue.

Two days after he disappeared, Nancy awoke in the middle of the night. She looked out the bedroom window and saw that Kevin was outside. She says that he looked younger, so much so that he looked more like his sister. Kevin had a calm, consoling look about him. His stare brought her peace; it told Nancy that he was OK, that everything would be OK.

The next morning, Jessica came in and hurriedly exclaimed, “Mom, did you see Dad last night?” Apparently, she had seen Kevin outside her window, too!

Nancy and Jessica had a trip scheduled to Florida before Kevin went missing. Now, they both felt like he was telling them that it was OK for them to go on the trip, even though they still didn’t know his whereabouts.

They traveled and on their return began calling again, hospitals, police and the morgue. This time, Nancy further queried the doctor at the morgue who had been reporting having the body of a 25-year-old male ever since Kevin went missing.

Nancy received permission to see the body, and when she did, she found out that, sure enough, it was Kevin! His pony tail and the fact that he was in great shape had led the mortician to mistakenly label the body as that of a 25-year-old, instead of the 53-year-old that Kevin was.

Kevin was in the bike lane when he was killed on Cypress Fairbanks Road. He had been a victim of a hit-and-run driver. His killer has never been found.

Wisdom 3:2-3: “Their departure was regarded as disaster, their leaving us like annihilation; but they are at peace.”

 

Terice Richards
Author: Terice RichardsEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Columnist
I am a hospital chaplain with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. I have been writing professionally since 1981 as a radio and television news reporter, anchor and producer. I earned an M.Ed. from the University of Houston and a B.A. from UCLA. I am a certified teacher for Pre-K through 12th grade and completed the practicum for pastoral care ministry certificate from St. Mary’s Seminary in Houston. I live with my family in Kingwood.

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