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This past week we commemorated the tragedy that occurred on September 11, 2001. It was a pivotal moment for the world, and a pivotal moment for the families of the 2,977 victims. The events of that day changed lives as well as our culture forever.

Every year this event triggers memories of that day. I reached out to family, wherever they were, to make sure they were okay. Then, little by little, I tried to absorb the impact that the events would have as they unfolded.

As time went on, I started feeling the grief the families experienced through the sudden loss of a mother, father, daughter, son, sister, brother, as well as co-workers. Loss and the resulting grief is felt by us all. I experienced empathy for each and everyone because I, too, experienced sudden loss.

It was a beautiful Saturday morning in 1975 … the start of deer season. I received a phone call telling me my brother, Jack, had been killed in an accident on a deer lease and that I would need to inform my mother and grandmother since they could not be located. I couldn’t comprehend what they were saying at first. There must be some mistake … it couldn’t be my brother. This sort of thing happens to somebody else.

But it was true. It took some time to confirm the facts. The jeep he and business associates were riding in overturned, expelling him from the backseat. Then I had the duty to tell my mother and grandmother that their son/grandson had been killed. That was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do … I still remember the shocked, saddened, look on their faces.

It took quite some time for the wounds to heal. At first, I would pray that God would tell Jack I loved and missed him. I wondered why I wasn’t taken instead of Jack. Then the wounds turned into gratitude for his life. His young daughter has now grown into a wonderful Christian matriarch.

Each day, every day, people experience loss. Some through sudden death, some through an accident, some through prolonged illness. Death at some point in our lives comes to all of us in the blink of an eye.

None of us know when our last day on earth will be. The question is are we ready.

In John 14:3, Jesus said, “I am going to prepare a place for you. I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”

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