Last Sunday, 22 February, I received a phone call from my cousin Carrie – there had been an accident. My cousin (and Carrie’s brother) Sherlock had been in a SCUBA diving accident and was in bad shape. She didn’t know any details but promised to call back when she had any news. The next few days we continued to get emailed updates on Sherlock’s condition through family and through Jeff and Sherlock’s climbing buddy Jesse. In a hospital in Bellingham, Washington, Sherlock was kept in a coma to protect his body, but after extensive testing he was pronounced brain dead. Surrounded by his wife Kate, parents and sister Carrie, Sherlock passed away Tuesday evening, 24 February 2009. He was 38.
Upon hearing the news, we immediately made plans to go to Anacortes to be with family. Sherlock’s Mom is my Dad’s sister, and – crazy as they may be – you can always count on the Martins to show up for each other. Family came in from as far away as Korea, to be together for each other and for Sherlock’s family – Kate, AJ (2 and a half), and Haley (11 mos). Upon arriving in Anacortes at Kate and Sherlock’s house, we asked Kate if there was anything we could do. Her answer struck me. “I’m exhausted with assigning jobs to everyone. The best thing you can do for me is enjoy this beautiful day in this beautiful place that we live. We truly live in God’s country.” She was so right. So, despite the circumstances, we set out to enjoy the place that Sherlock loved so much.
The service on Saturday was beautiful and very much a celebration of Sherlock’s life. It is sad when anyone dies, but so very, very sad when a young person dies unexpectedly and friends and family are left wondering what could have been. The sermon during the memorial service was absolutely appropriate. The minister told us that the very Sunday of the accident she had preached about living life abundantly – that this life is about quality, not quantity. She talked about Sherlock’s love for life, for fun and for his family. The best any of us can hope for is to live the life we love – surrounded by the people we love. And Sherlock is a testament to that.
I am so glad we were able to travel to be with family – even under the circumstances. Colt didn’t much care for the airplane, and I’ll post more pictures later in the week. Here are some photos of family —
Please keep the Hirnings in your thoughts. Kate amazed me with her strength and her sense of peace, but I know she’ll need support as she moves forward from this.
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. -John 10:10