When someone we know and love dies it triggers emotional overwhelm. There’s a feeling of sadness and pain, compassion, expressions of love and many emotions all mixed in together, they’re enough to knock you off your feet.
Have you ever pondered the meaning of life? Why are we really here? What’s our purpose in this life, in this world? Do we ask ourselves these questions when we receive news we’d rather not receive, like the passing of an uncle, a beloved aunt, a favourite niece or nephew or, someone close who died suddenly for any reason. I justify the news and console myself in believing that this is the cycle of life as it is known. That, we are all born to die and when this event occurs it simply means our time in this life has ended.
Many people experience a long and full life. They contributed to society in a meaningful way, were visible within their community, volunteering and positively impacting the lives of those less fortunate. When they depart this life I reflect on how proud their family must be for the legacy they left behind. I also imagine the hurt and grief they are feeling as that person is not coming back to them.
I am no stranger to death. Over time I had many family members died and I find death emotionally draining. This feeling of sadness, pain, hurt, compassion, empathy, love; so many emotions going through your mind at the same time it feels like a tsunami came upon you.
One year ago I lost a nephew only 47 years of age who died from a massive stroke. Two years earlier, two of my older sisters passed on. I experienced first hand the impact on a family when a mother buries her son and siblings say goodbye to older siblings. The grief and the hurt is unbearable, however, it gets a bit easier with the passage of time, though, life is never the same – that void remains.
In life we work and strive to accomplish a level of success and many of us do. In the case of my late nephew he was quite an accomplished man, yet, in the prime of his life it all ended suddenly in the summer of 2015.
Young people seldom think of death they do not like to discuss that topic. On the other hand older people tend to prepare for death and accept it as a natural and inevitable occurrence. Experience and reality have tempered their emotions. The grief and hurt is still there, so is the reflection on the positive aspects of the individual’s life.
Experiencing the passing of many family members has helped me to become less sensitive to the loss of those I love. I understand and accept the fact that death is a part of life; we were born to die. Therefore, I live in the present and I’m thankful that my passion for life by far offset my fear of death.
Now, where does this discussion of death take us? Quite possibly, it could be to the end of a journey, or the beginning of a new one; it all depends on your beliefs. For instance, if you were to have a tombstone, what would it read? Guess what! We’re back to the question, “What is our mission, our purpose, our goal”? One accolade might read, “Here lays John Doe an honest man who cared about the people around him, respected others and made a positive difference in the lives of everyone he encountered.” If we envision how we want others to remember us, it might provide a valuable compass to aid us down the path of life.
In a perfect world, perhaps caring and understanding might extend well beyond our community and our country. We can imagine a common bond based on a desire for truth, justice, peace, and mutual respect. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
We can’t do a lot about death, it is inevitable. We can however, impact life, our own life and the lives of others.