Death. We all know what it is. We are all aware we will die someday. (Except for maybe Betty White and Jesus-they seem to be hanging on for the ages). Whilst we are constantly aware of death, some of us from earlier ages than others, find it difficult to realize that death is a part of life. Why is that?
For me, life seems so disconnected from death. Life is challenging, no doubt, but I hardly ever consider death to be a part of life. But it simply is. As we come upon this Easter Sunday, death (and rebirth) is always a recurring theme. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice and “died for our salvation”, according to Christian beliefs.
I’ve lost three friends to suicide since May of last year; another one just this week. Several of my high school and college friends are dead. Our family friend of 14 years old just died of cardiac arrest this week. Death is most certainly a part of life. When I was diagnosed with an illness so many years ago, I thought I would die. My illness has now been downgraded to chronic, so this probably will not happen. But we could go at any moment for any reason. Any of us. It is absolutely possible. It is easy to focus on the fear surrounding our passing, or the passing of a parent or a loved one. This is something that I did for years and years until I realized my own mortality. But now as I get older and it seems that people are dying around me left and right, I am starting to fear the inevitable again.
My grandmother is 93. She is a perfect example of someone who didn’t crawl into a hole and waste away when her husband died at 76. For the past twenty years, she has blossomed into a woman of her own that none of us ever saw coming. My grandma is someone who understood that you have to keep on living when someone close to you dies. I think as we progress further into the future with age defying procedures and technology around us, it’s easier to think we might live forever.
I noticed two days ago when I found out my friend, who took her own life just three months after her 17 year old son took his life that i started to “catastrophize” everything. It was also the day we dropped a 21, 600 pound bomb on Afghanistan, so it wasn’t entirely unwarranted. It’s easy to wake up to bad news and think the end of the world is upon is. At least for me it is. I took the afternoon to wallow my sorrow in some Mexican food and by the evening, I was ok again. I think this is healthy–maybe not the “eating your feelings” part, but recognizing grief, dealing with it and moving in part.
I know the day is coming when I’ll lose my parents. I’ll probably lose a close friend of sibling unexpectedly. Or maybe even a partner. Perhaps I’ll be gone long before I know it. I think there’s an important metaphor there we could all stand to recognize. Easter is not about beautiful hats, it’s about life, death and resurrection. We’re all born. That’s a fact. We all die. That’s a fact. But many of us die inside well before our bodies perish. It’s the resurrection from grief that many are not able to overcome.
I guess the old saying, “Life your life to the fullest” is one we should always keep in the back and front of our minds. Life is all we have, and until we get to the next one/if we get to the next one let’s make the best of it.
I’ve included a link to 101 ways you can live your life to the fullest. It sounds cliché and even I want to roll my eyes sometimes, but this stuff really works. So try it!