SUNNY CAL JOURNAL: REMEMBERING MELISSA OSHOWAY - "Oh, Earth, You're Too Wonderful For The Living."


By Bob Weaver 2005

It has been cloudy in Sunny Cal for what seems like weeks.

The holiday season more dismal because of a Christmas Eve day accident that sent nineteen-year-old Melissa Oshoway to the hospital.

Two days later, one of the world's greatest disasters, a tsunami took the lives of 150,000 people.

A wall of water killed those unfortunate souls rather quickly, but Missy's struggle for life ended twelve days later.

Yesterday, for the first time in many days, the sun shone brightly in the First Baptist Church in Grantsville, filled for her Melissa's final rites.

Calhoun is among the lowest populated counties in America, and we pretty much know everyone around here. A lot of folks knew Missy and her parents.

While many are numbed about the thousands killed in those far-away lands, Missy is one of our own.

Hundreds filed by her casket, expressing their sorrow and their hope to parents John and Sue. Few could contain their tears. Most didn't try.

These years, since her death, the Oshoways have held a memorial Easter egg hunt which has been attended by thousands of Calhoun kids.

It was a reminder that we're born with a bucket-full of time with the anticipation of a long life. Most of us work our way toward death as the bucket slowly empties, nurturing precious time and precious life.

Then there are times like this, when the bucket should be nearly full and it suddenly falls empty.

While yesterday's funeral was about remembering Missy, it was also about her dad and mom. Most everyone knows the Oshoway's were a tight-knit, loving family. How can they survive this loss and go on living without their only child?

Most can only ask, without being in their shoes.

Most of us know that parents spend a lot of time thinking about what they should do, raising their children.

Most of us realize that time and death is the great equalizer, and as parents, we like to think — we need to believe — that we can protect our children.

We know the dangers out there, and during most of our parenting days we hope they'll be as lucky as we were.

We have to believe they'll be safe.

The alternative is a kind of paralysis of fruitless worry.

Some of us have painfully learned that life is fragile.

There are times we cannot hold our children in the palm of our hand.

We cannot shelter them from a world of risk.

What we can do is treasure God's gifts while they are with us.

Col. Robert Ingersoll wrote "Here in this world, where life and death are equal kings, all should be brave enough to meet what all have met ... If those who press and strain against our hearts could never die, perhaps that love would wither from the earth ... I should rather live and love where death is king than have eternal life where love is not ..."

We sorrowfully say goodbye to Missy, recalling Walt Whitman's words "The most powerful time is when we are alone, thinking about what we are to do."

Each of us may have different answers, but there are answers.

In Thornton Wilder's "Our Town," after looking upon the living, a deceased Emily said "Oh, earth, you're too wonderful for the living."

After all the sorrow, we would like to believe that Sunny Cal skies will be brighter by the virtue of hope.