“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
1 Corinthians 15:55 (NIV)
Weary, I picked up my daughter and headed home as my work week drew to an end.
With a nagging head cold, I wanted nothing more than to put my feet up and have a nice hot cup of tea, but I didn’t have time to relax. I was throwing a surprise fiftieth birthday party for my friend Jeanette. All our friends would be there.
My husband, Bill, as always, pitched in. Though only seven, our daughter, Mary Elizabeth, did as well. She was already seasoned in event planning, for we made a point of celebrating every season and holiday, birthday and landmark in the lives of our family and friends.
Celebrating Jeanette’s birthday was especially important, for she was deep in the trenches of a hard, long-standing war with cancer. We wanted her party to be something special, so we worked hard. Everything was ready when our guests began to arrive.
The festivities were just getting under way when the phone rang. My mother was calling to tell me that my father had a blood clot and was being admitted to the hospital. Explaining about Jeanette’s party, I promised I’d be there early the next day.
Still a bit bleary eyed the following morning, I was driving through the streets of Atlanta toward I-20 when a cross on the hillside of a cemetery seemed to leap out toward me, and I distinctly heard the words of 1 Corinthians 15:55: “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” Instinctively, I knew it was a say.
My father was the child of first-generation Scottish Americans, and I grew up in a borough in Birmingham thick with Brodies, Gaelic customs and Scottish burrs. For Scotts, a say is a telling of what is to come, a premonition with a purpose.
God knew I wasn’t prepared for my father to die. He wanted to prepare me by reminding me that death is not the end, but the beginning. I spent that day with my father. He died the next, but thanks be to God, I am more than certain that I will see him again. Diane Brodie Terry