Sisters of Hope No More

April 21st, 2009

two-old-ladiesI’m struggling with exactly how to describe what had happened on that day. It’s not so easy drawing together the sadness that existed in that apartment in order to show you, in some way, that it actually has some value associated with the telling of these women’s sad tale.

The two widows lived in a quaint retirement community with it’s manicured lawns, perfectly trimmed bushes, a view of the valley to the south and social events scheduled months in advance. Presumably all this and more was to keep the old folks from complaining about the conditions, how things used to be and how dismal the present was which paled in comparison as imminent planetary doom that surely lay just beyond next week. Some folks could real off a tirade, bash the government, complain about medicine prices, show pics of the grandkids and take in a healthy breakfast all before their 9:00 a.m. shuffleboard reservation. These folks are professionals.

But, the sad reality is that there is alot of pain in those places. Loneliness, isolation, memories of better days, powerlessness, emptiness and hopelessness takes over for some people and that’s exactly what was found as we pushed open the door and stepped through into an apartment, once filled with laughter and now a tomb of death.

Mary and Grace were sisters in their late 70′s. Both were professional women with degrees in music and English respectively and they had spent years teaching. They had both been married but their husbands had passed and as I looked around, it was obvious that they loved their families dearly and cherished the memories of a life spent traveling and learning. I followed the memories throughout the immaculate apartment and ended up down a short hallway to the bedroom of Mary. There was a hustle and bustle in the apartment since it was no longer an apartment, it was a crime scene. I slowly pushed the door open the the butt end of my flashlight and my eyes took in the bodies. One on the bed. One on the floor.

What had happened? Who could have done this? It was obvious that Mary had been shot as she lay in her bed. Grace hadn’t gone as quiet as there were swirls of blood on the carpet where she had moved around as her life slowly drained away. We began to piece together the scene and the sadness, even more than if they had been murdered, began to well up like a wave starting deep in the ocean racing towards shore and rising up till you could see it and it was going to crash over you. It was just a matter of time.

We processed the scene and found that these two sisters were in what they saw as a completely hopeless situation. They had each other but the thought of having to face the future without each other was too much for them. They were financially stable and well cared for. But they both had endured the loss of their loves and they vowed that they would not go through that pain again. They needed each other; and in one final act, they were going to leave this world……together.

Friends, it’s not pretty. It’s not glamorous. It’s not to be romanticized. What happened in that room was sad and heartbreaking. We found that Grace had the gun in her hand and Mary placed her hands on either side of the revolver and placed it to her chest just over her heart. All Hope was shattered as the round penetrated and ruptured her aorta. Grace immediately stood up, placed it to her own chest and pulled the trigger again. Unfortunately, the round when straight through her not damaging anything vital but causing her to bleed heavily. As she lay on the floor calling for Mary but getting no response, she reached for the gun one more time and fired a final round, silencing Hope in that place once-and-for-all. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

I don’t know how to tell you that it just can’t ever get that bad that you have to resort to these measures. One woman was murdered and one woman took her own life. Yes there’s pain in life. Yes there is great sadness. But as I heard this weekend, we are trapped somewhere between the Garden of Eden and our heavenly home. We live in a fallen world and it’s just going to be like that. That’s not a big help but it is just that. There are times when we are alone and sad and we just cannot find our way. But this isn’t the answer. Hope demands an alternative. But Hope doesn’t stop there. Hope provides the alternative and moves us and presses us towards the next step, the next minute, the next task, the next unknown. We can plan all we want but none of us know what tomorrow holds. It could be completely different than what we have planned. We get cocky and boldly plow through our lives, only hoping for……….stuff. We have forgotten how to dream and hope for just another day. We need to remember that even though life may be painful at times, It’s still a Gift.  We are not our own.  We may think we are but we have been bought with a price and we belong to Him whether we choose to acknowledge it or not. 

Both women were in excellent health and would have most likely lived for many years.  What made them do what they did that day? I can only guess.  But I know that there may be some of you reading this right now that feel in the same position they did.  Don’t.  Give it another day.  Give it another hour.  Give it another minute.  Just try.  Hope for something better and believe in the possibility of that.  Christ is our hope.  He makes the difference by giving us a hope that is eternal.  Not because of who we are.  But because of who He is.   Hope moves us forward.  But what hope is really pushing us towards, is the cross.  When we give up Hope, we give up a waiting Savior and the cross he bore for us.  If we insist on carrying the load that He paid for, for us, then we must accept the consequences of it as well.  Hope says there’s another way.  Give Hope a chance.  Mary and Grace will never have that chance again.

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One Response

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Hope is what forced me to look for the good in people and the silver lining when dissapointement came.
    Thanks for reminding me of the blessings recieved because I had hope.

    Thank you for you’re hard work and taking the time to reach out to others…

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