Twenty-six years ago this morning I lost my father, James Gordon Noyes, in a tragic and freak accident less than a month after his 39th birthday. I outlined my experience with this part of my life two years ago today in my Losing a Father piece on the 24th anniversary of that sad day. Two years later and I reflect upon a marathon of years of loss in various forms.
My family was always small with both my parents being only children and their parents having not many siblings and those siblings and their offspring having at best a peripheral presence in my life or more commonly none at all. I lost my father in 1985 to start off the train of tragedy. Three years later I lost my maternal grandfather, the late Dr. J. Vernon McGee, as touched upon in my Dr. J. Vernon McGee Was My Grandfather piece. At that time his wife, my late maternal grandmother, Ruth Inez Jordan McGee, began to die from her mind outwards through her body, a process that would not reach its conclusion until nine years later as she slowly descended into death which finally occurred in 1997. Then a year-and-a-half later my paternal grandfather, James Edwin Noyes, died at 84. Now all I have left are my mother, Lynda Karah McGee Noyes, with whom I have had an at-times troubled relationship with over the years although God has healed that fully. Then there is my only sibling, my brother Andrew Carey Noyes with whom I am not close after years of a troubled relationship which seems to be undergoing some healing. Finally, there is my relationship with my remaining grandmother, Martha Virginia Van Stone Noyes, with whom I have also had an at-times troubled relationship which it appears God has likewise healed.
Loss has been an overriding theme in my life not limited to the physical death of people. Spiritually I was dead for most of my life until quite recently. My sanity died in 1988 and not coincidentally did not fully return until quite recently as well although that process began several years and preceded my spiritual Renaissance and Great Awakening. The church that comes closest to being my home church while I was growing up and which left the greatest mark on me in my life to date lost its way and made spiritual shipwreck while I was still young. However, it left an indelible mark on my both good and bad.
Through all of this there has been little comfort to be derived from my fellow human beings. I have felt largely on my own because I have been largely on my own. God has used this to teach me to not lean on people nor on myself but to look to Him for guidance and comfort and healing. My process of becoming who I was created to be is far from complete but at least I can see this process underway. Indeed, it has always been underway even when I didn't recognize it and was in darkness and blindness. Everything that has befallen me to date has been part of God's plan for my life and has been engineered by Him to instill in me the qualities I will need in the future and to teach me hard lessons I could and can only learn by experiencing my life as it has been and continues to be.
I remain to this day haunted by the subject of loss and how the news of it is delivered and received.