~Then turning back to Damaris Dillip responded, “Yes, I know that I can fulfill my
duties as a knight of Nor, and as a knight of the Queen’s Guard. I know now that this is my calling, and exactly what I must be, and nothing is going to keep me from it.”
Excerpt The Queen and Knights of Nor
I’ve been thinking about my cousin Markus a lot. He died last year. Six days after my book launch. He was one of my characters, and (SPOILER) my readers will be seeing more of him, when I publish my other books. But I won’t get to see more of him here. It was compounded by the fact that I hadn’t seen in him in three years. I had little kids and very little income, and he was in high school, and life just has a way of moving on and on without me realizing it.
I’ve had some things shake me in my life. Like watching the Twin Towers come down, knowing that my dad was going to be assigned to the 4th ID, and knowing that the 4th would be the ones to go to war. And he did. Saying good bye to him in that gym shook me. A high school break-up shook me. My first baby being admitted to the NICU immediately after her birth shook me. Me and my unborn second baby nearly being hit by a car going 70 mph as he passed me shook me. My doctor telling me about antigen M antibody and what it meant for my third baby shook me.
But nothing ever shook me like the phone call from my mom at 10:47 pm May 13, 2016. I thought “He is in the hospital. He is recoving.” for a split second, but sometimes gun shot wounds can’t be fixed. And I cried like I’ve never cried before from the very pit of my soul, and if I’m honest if I sit quietly for very long and I think of him I still cry, a lot. I didn’t sleep that night. I drove to my parents and sat in mourning with them, my sisters and my grandparents (who had just happened to come into town that evening). And I walked around in a haze for the next few days, as the reality failed to sink in, then we flew to California and the weather was perfect, and we cried but it still didn’t sink in.
I remember standing in the foyer of the Church. It was just the family members (at least that’s what I remember) Markus’ pictures were scrolling across the huge screens, and I didn’t want to go in. It seemed like no one wanted to. It felt like going in made it real, and it couldn’t be real. Not Markus. But we did, and it was, and the hole inside me that I didn’t think could get any bigger got much bigger.
Doubt has a funny way of quietly slipping in when grief is present. I was just listening to a talk a friend of mine gave on doubt, and last summer was filled with so many doubts. Losing Markus shook me to my core. His death made me question everything I had put my faith in. I considered stepping down from working with the youth at my Church, because honestly, I was doubting just about everything. But funny how it works, Doubt was the very thing my friend was preaching on. So I held steady, and I realized that everything I was feeling didn’t nullify the truth that God is good all the time, even when I didn’t feel His love. Even (honestly) when I didn’t really love Him. It’s funnier how looking back, even though it hurts as much as it did at 10:47 on May 13, that I have a little deeper understanding of Christ’s promises. He never left me or forsook me, even though I had some pretty angry words for Him. The hole that I feel is just as big and hurts just as much as it did, but (honestly) I’m thankful it does.It reminds me of Markus, and even though I wrote this years before May 13, 2016, I understand it so much better now.
~Her wound healed over completely, but it caused her pain every day of her
life. Demetrius fretted over this, but Micha always told him, “It
reminds me of the friends and countrymen we lost. I am thankful
for the reminder, so that they are never forgotten.”
Markus will never be forgotten.
Like Dillip, I had my doubts because the wounds were deep. But I now realize what my calling is and that my duty is to the King, and like Dillip and Micha both, I bear the wounds with honor, in honor of those who have fallen before me. In honor of Markus, who has made me a stronger (though sadder) person. Markus helped me to learn how to better deal with my doubts. Markus helped me to learn the ideas I wrote into a story, but (I’m ashamed to say) I didn’t really understand. I wish that I could give the lessons back in exchange for him, but I know I can’t, and it’s not ok. But joy is not dependent on circumstances, and I bare the wound in his memory and honor.
~In Loving Memory of
Markus Samuel Eggleston