In the midst of life we are in death. This phrase is often heard at funerals. What does this mean? It is a reminder that life and death are linked. From the moment we are born we are dying. That is not morbid it is just the truth. In fact, from the moment we are conceived we are dying. We are set into motion like the winding of a clock. At some point it will wear down and stop. In our world it can be snuffed out by an illness, accident or crime but nevertheless we each have an expiration date.
Some cultures accept this fact easier than those of us in the western world. We worry about death. We can feel fear and panic just thinking about it.
Before I was a nurse I had ideas about death. I never wanted to think about it or be with someone at their death. After being at many deaths I have changed my feelings. I have seen people in so much distress that death is a friend.
Most of the people I have been with just slipped quietly away. No anxiety, no visible fear. Some spoke to relatives on the other side. Whether they really saw them I don’t know but I would like to think they did. Some expressed peace.
A long time ago I complained to a minister friend that I was upset about the death of a child in an accident. I fumed that her life had been cut short. He said he had a different perspective. He viewed each person’s life as a candle that burned until it went out. That could be when the candle is completely burned or just after it is lit. Each person has a life span that is different. This view was a comfort to me and still is.
Death is not something to fear. When we remove that from our minds life becomes brighter. It is not easy to do and we may waver from time to time. It is difficult to imagine not being alive and can produce sadness when we wish we would still be around to see grandchildren or great grandchildren marry and have children of their own.
No matter our age and the length of life no one wants to be gone. Life is beautiful in spite of any trials we face. The important thing is to treasure each moment and when we come to the end say “I have lived!”
The end of another year…the beginning of a new one. What will come to us? There is no way of knowing. The best we can do is hope for the best. There is truly no way to plan but we can make sure that our attitude is positive. May each of you have a blessed new year!
The winter solstice is past. Darkness will be gradually fading and the light will win. Christmas is upon us. The things that we haven’t done will not be done. It’s time to take a deep breath and relax. I hope that most of us will not be too exhausted to enjoy the day. It can be a day of joy or a day of frustration and challenges. I hope that the latter will not be true for you. I hope that each of you will share a day of love and peace. See the beauty that Christmas brings…the smiles on the faces of children, the magic of twinkling lights, and the smells of favorite foods. Have a happy and Holy Christmas!
This is the time of year when the Scrooge story is on TV. I started to think about the ghosts that visit him. Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Future. I always think about Christmas Past. I think about the time when we had small children and Christmas was so joyful and exciting. Seeing the children as they opened their presents was wonderful. That time is gone for me. I’m not sure I completely appreciated it. I didn’t lock it away and say to myself “remember this, it won’t come again.” We don’t usually think such thoughts when we are experiencing life. I don’t know if we have to or should. It might bring sadness into the picture….the thought that time is moving on and this moment will be gone.
Each phase of life is different. Years ago I studied Hindu thinking with a practitioner and liked the idea of the eight-fold path. We have important things to accomplish in the different ages we live. My age should be concerned with understanding life in all its aspects. I think that is what I am doing. I can look back…not to bemoan my faults …but to glean the wisdom I gained. I want to accomplish this and share what I discover.
I do miss the joys of Christmas Past but it was a different time and I can’t go back. I don’t think I want to. I just wish some of it would stick around. Instead we have another wonky Christmas. We will be gone next week for Hap’s therapy and my daughter will come the Friday we arrive back to celebrate early with us. She will be working Christmas week. We celebrate with my son and his family Christmas week. My other daughter and her family we will not get to see.
It is life. I will concentrate on the reason for the holiday and enjoy the family time that we will have. I don’t have time for regrets and wishing the past was back. I have too much living in the now to do. After all, who knows what Christmas Future will be.
Why is it that we have these times of doing well and the suddenly life smacks you. My friend’s husband fell last night and broke his hip. She has been caring for him…physically..for over a year now. She is the reason that he is alive. Medicine today requires that you have an advocate and she is his. He was doing well and improving, walking with a walker and talking more and now we are back at square one. I am brokenhearted for her and for him.
My daughter’s father-in-law died yesterday. She has been helping to care for him for the last eight months. His was an expected and peaceful death but there is still much to get through. In life we are in the midst of death.
This is the season of anticipation. Waiting for a birth and yet death and suffering continue. The cycle of life. It is interesting at my age to think about the years coming and know that I won’t be here to see the future. This is not an unhappy reflection but a reflection on life itself. Everything is a cycle of birth and death. Even stones are worn away into sand. We also return to the earth. This is as it should be.
Today I am fighting IBSD and that is part of my cycle. This too will pass and life will continue to be born. There is today and more days to come. Take each of them and treasure them whether they are joyful or challenging. Life is to be lived.
This week I have been sad. I don’t know if it was my birthday and getting older or the autumn and the darkness. It could be all of the above. It has brought to mind some things that I used to do and don’t any more.
I used to bake for Christmas. I made lots of sweets for everyone. I no longer have someone to bake for. The two of us have no desire to eat lots of Christmas sweets. My grandchildren are grown up (all except one who is in his teens) and not around to bake for or with. It was fun to make treats with my children and grandchildren.
For some reason I stopped sending Christmas cards. Our years of moving around made me lose track of many people. Our life is different now and it seems that there are many people who don’t send cards. In a way that is a regret. It was a job to get them done but a wonderful way to keep in touch.
I don’t have as much money to spend on gifts and so I try to be resourceful and creative in the things I find. This has been a plus as it has helped me to spend time on what really matters. It also reminds me of those who have nothing.
Again, life changes and we have to experience each phase. We can’t opt out if we plan to live on. Getting older can present challenges but so do other phases of life. To really live we have to seize each moment and know it will not come again.
Even though I have been sad sometimes sad can be a season of remembrance. It can be a time when we think about how different things are and plan to choose to live this moment. In this season of darkening skies and leaves falling life continues. Winter will follow and spring and on and on. The world is turning, time goes forward and I am still here to see it.
When we experience the loss of someone or something truly significant to we can be overwhelmed. Sometimes numbness sets in and we are separate from things going on around us. When the grief begins to explode our psyche we don’t know what to do to help. There is a danger at this point. We want so badly to help the pain that we can reach out to things that can put a band aid on the hurt for awhile. Sometimes those things are knee jerk reactions and end up adding to our emotional crisis. That is why most advice says don’t do anything hasty. Usually the advice is about selling a house or moving. But there are other things that can crop up.
One thing we seek during immediate grief is connections. We need others to see our pain. Most of the time people don’t know what to say or how to help. Many say the wrong things. There will be some who understand the things that you really need. Hold them close…they are your lifeline.
If this happens to us early in life ..losing a spouse or loved one…we so want the grief to relent that it is easy to dive into another relationship thinking that is the answer. I have a friend who lost her husband early on and had two disastrous marriages before stepping back and eventually making a loving and lasting connection. She just wanted the pain to stop.
Grief is not an easy thing and it does not follow the same pattern for everyone. Small things can cause waves of pain.. a smell, a song, an event. There are so many more.
There will be life following. It is fine to laugh, have good days and momentarily put thoughts of your love from your mind. Don’t be guilty. You are allowed to go on. You still have God given life and you can live it.