When was the last time you found yourself driving on the Bypass (Highway 61) and started to think about what happens when we die? That thought crossed my mind last week and I don’t really know why.
If anything, I’ve been feeling really good about things overall, including having lost 30 pounds since December 29th. So, why did I have that panic inducing thought? It only lasted a moment or two, but it really took me by surprise.
As I’m writing this, it is dawning on me that it was probably connected to the tragic loss of a family friend. Let me give you some background. My family lived in Elm Wood Park, Illinois from 1981 up until 1996. My parents got divorced around 1986, and my mom, Sheila (who is a saint, let the record state), did home daycare for several years. One of the families she provided daycare for was Mary and Chuck Schauer. Both of their children, Chuck Jr. and Kathleen, were at my house for several years. I recall Kathleen being a baby when she started coming to our home.
Chuck Jr. grew up, joined the military, proudly serving his country, and upon returning home became a police officer for the Berwyn, Illinois Police Department. Chuck Jr. had been “on the job” (the police term for working as an officer, remember my dad is a retired Chicago cop) for a decade before he was tragically killed in a car accident on Sunday, January 19th. Chuck Jr. was only 33 years old and left behind two very young children.
My mom, Sheila, as you can imagine, was devastated by learning the news of Chuck’s passing. Chuck’s mom, Mary, has been a dear friend ever since they became a daycare client.
So, where do we go? What happens the moment we die? As far as I know, nobody knows the answer to that question, but wouldn’t you like to? That thought crossed my mind during my aforementioned drive, and it is really frustrating not knowing the answer. Surely, books have been written by people who have had “near death experiences” but there is no definitive answer as to what happens.
We’ve all lost people in our lives that we love. Family members, friends, it is never easy to say goodbye. I know that for some, finding solace in their religious beliefs helps with the grieving process. My intent is to not spark a debate connected to religion, but rather as almost a therapeutic exercise, using this column to help me feel better about things.
I love my life, I love my family, and I try my best to make the most of each day. But why do good, honest people like Chuck Jr. have to be taken from us? Why did my Grandpa Joe have to get hit by a train in the summer of 2003?
I’m the type of person that needs to know the answer and solve the problem, and the not knowing with this one is tough. If this thought has crossed your mind before, just know that you’re not alone and if anything, let’s all do a better job about sharing our feelings with the ones we love.