In Memoriam

According to Wikipedia, in memoriam is a Latin phrase equivalent to “in memory (of)”, referring to remembering or honoring a person who has passed away.

It may be hard to believe (or not), but on May 29, 1974, I was one of 519 students who graduated from Southwest High School in Kansas City, Missouri.

I had gone back for my 10 year high school reunion, at which time I learned that three of my classmates had passed away. I did not make it back for any of the other major milestone reunions, nor did I make it back for my 30 year reunion. I did however visit my graduating class website to look at a special “In Memoriam” section that remembers and honors those from our class who are now deceased, and at that time, I expected to see another three or four names added to the list. It was a rather sobering sight to see a total of 24 names along with pictures of those who had died during those past 30 years. What is really chilling is that 8 or 9 or those listed were some of my high school buddies, many of whom I had known since grade school.

As I reflected on their passing, I tried to remember the times we had spent together, the trouble we had avoided, the pranks we had gotten away with, and just how important our relationships were to each other at that moment in our young lives. I have some sketchy details of how some lost their lives, and I’m sure in several cases it is better that I don’t know, but their passing reinforces the fact that our time on this earth is short and that we need to be prepared for what is to come.

There is an old saying that “life goes on”. We are living proof that life on this earth will go on without those we once knew, and when the time comes, life will go on without us. This old saying clearly has a significant spiritual meaning, in that eternal life goes on. Jesus is living proof that “life goes on”, even after death.

Mark 16 (NKJV) 1 Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him. 2 Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. 3 And they said among themselves, “Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?” 4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away–for it was very large. 5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. 6 But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. 7 But go, tell His disciples–and Peter–that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.” 8 So they went out quickly and fled from the tomb, for they trembled and were amazed. And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. 9 Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons. 10 She went and told those who had been with Him, as they mourned and wept. 11 And when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe. 12 After that, He appeared in another form to two of them as they walked and went into the country. 13 And they went and told it to the rest, but they did not believe them either. 14 Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. 15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.

16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” 19 So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.

After doing the math, I am reminded that in just two years, it will be my 50 year reunion. At this point, what seems to be happening is that with each passing year, I hear of one or two more classmates who are no longer with us. As I write this article, there are 61 of my 519 classmates who are now gone. It is still hard to imagine that my graduation was so many years ago, but as I learned from the “In Memoriam” list, a mere 30 to 50 years can be a lifetime for some. None of us know how much time we will have on this earth, but may we live our lives without forgetting that our lives will go on when our time on this earth has come to an end.

Written by: Tony Bohannon

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top