There are some sports (like professional American football) where the concept of sudden death overtime is a very real concern, where a quick score as a result of an unexpected turnaround automatically ends the game, leaving no opportunity for a rejoinder on the other team. Such endings, whether one is talking about a “golden goal” during injury time in a soccer game or an interception returned for a touchdown in overtime that quickly ends a lengthy and close football game, or a walk-off home run in baseball, such endings are especially stunning and decisive and very memorable. Sometimes, though, when sudden death occurs outside of the context of sports, it is far less enjoyable and pleasant to deal with, if equally shocking and memorable.
Although I have a habit of writing obituaries and eulogies  for those who have died, recently I have had to deal with the sudden death of two older women who I did not know well enough or long enough to consider them close friends, but whose deaths were nonetheless shocking and jarring to me (and especially to others who knew them both better). Although I did not know their lives enough to write about them in detail, I would like to at least write a little bit about their lives as I knew them, so that those who knew them better may add to these modest and slight reflections their own far more substantial base of knowledge about these devoted servants of God. It is my hope that my modest reflections will not in any way trivialize or insult these people or their families, though.
The first of the deaths, which happened a couple of weeks ago, was of Becky Knutson. The Sabbath before she died, a friend of mine and I had given her hugs just before she left services. Although I never got to know her well–she was not an easy person to get to know, although she was very serious-minded woman, the grandmother of one of my friends in the congregation, and a particularly decent woman. She happened to be responsible for sending information to me as one of the leaders of the area; I think she was a deaconess. Most of our conversations revolved around my frequent moving and the difficulties it progressed in terms of keeping informed. Sadly, there was not time for more, although I imagine I will get to know more about her after the fact at her memorial service, along with the comments about her life from those who knew her far better than I.
This afternoon just before services I found out about the death of a deaconess who sat next to me often during services and who loaned me a book to read  and often wondered solicitously in her warm and friendly way about my jobs and my love life. From what I have heard from friends, she took a regular interest in helping people feel welcome and a part of the congregation through providing service opportunities to others. Apparently, from what I understand, she had a death like my grandmother. She felt a bit ill and somewhat run down but not really troubled, she went to sleep in a chair, and she never woke up. And now she leaves a grieving widower who had to deal with a coroner and an inquest this morning, which is not the way someone wants to open up the Days of Unleavened Bread, not by any means. Sometimes life gives us what we don’t expect, though, and we have to find the reasons why.
 See, for example: