Dying at Christmas

Of all times of the year to die, why do people have to die at Christmas time?

The fact that people die at what's commonly believed to be the most joyous time of year is proof positive that there is no God.

Christmas is set aside as a time for most people in our country to at least pretend or attempt to be a little happier then other times of the year. Life is hard. Especially with the poor economy and chronic unemployment it's easy to feel depressed, downtrodden.  We go full speed all year, sweating and toiling;  trying to stay alive. Life is gray and difficult.

Then Christmas comes. A happy time. A time of parties and good food and gift giving. Then someone has to go and die and ruin all the good tidings.

I lost two good friends at Christmas.  Steve Stover was a kid I grew up with in Ohio. We met when I was about 12 years old. We were in the same classes and graduated high school together.  Afterward, he went off to the Navy and I  drifted in and out of college but we kept in close touch. We did a cross-country trip together in 1981.  He died of complication from pancreatic cancer the  day after Christmas in 1997.  He had just turned 41.

Just last year my friend Danny Smith died the day before Christmas Eve.  Between 1975 and 1982 we were as close as two friends could be.

Now just 8 days before Christmas Eve I learn that the incredibly gifted writer Christopher Hitchens has died. I tried to read everything he wrote. I certainly loved to see him take apart some feeble-minded, right-wing believer in a debate.  I could only hope to be half as smart as Hitchens.

It's certainly sad when anyone dies, anytime of the year.  There's something extra sad about having someone you love die during the holiday season.  Dying at Christmas makes it seem as though reality is mocking our childish beliefs about joy and peace and goodwill towards men. Of course it's not true but it sure seems that way to me.