Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Ultimate Loss

Sometimes I feel so surrounded by it. In the past few weeks, the child of a friend of mine committed suicide. This was followed later that same week by the news that a friend of mine who is around my age passed away after having a very serious bout of pneumonia. Most recently I learned that my cousin who is only a couple of years older than I am has just this morning passed away as a result of cancer.

I know that death is an unavoidable fact of life. Sooner or later it will catch up with all of us. I just hope it is later. I know I am getting older but at this age we should be looking forward to what we will do with ourselves when we retire. Attending funerals of friends and relatives in my own age group is still not something that I would like to think that I will be having to do on any kind of regular basis. But it stills happens.

As a parent, my biggest nightmare is having to go my own child’s funeral. I can not imagine how that must tear a parent up inside. Never mind what seems to be an ever growing case of young people committing suicide. What is happening in our society today where we are losing so many of our children to such an insidious plague? How can we end this? Why, so often, do we not see it coming? YOUR LIFE COUNTS! (check out this link)

I don’t pretend to know the definitive answer to any of these questions. Nor do I understand why we lose or friends at such an early age. I do know that it just makes me feel sick! At the same time I feel guilty for feeling this way. I look at what has been happening in Japan right now. Whole villages have been wiped away. Nothing left! Thousands of people have been killed and people continue to die from this earth-shattering quake. So where do I get off feeling depressed? Unfortunately that just seems to add to it.

I think one of the big reasons that this is so upsetting to me is because I have been working so very hard to make myself healthier and stronger so I can have a better and longer life. All of what is going on around me is a reminder that life can be fleeting. You never know when the time set aside just for you will come along and end it all, no matter what you have done. My biggest fear is that I will get healthy, get to retirement or almost, and then have it snatched away with no say from me at all.

I remember a few years ago when my mother passed away. We knew she was very sick with ovarian cancer. She had gone into the hospital for an operation. We were told that things did not look good. After the operation, she developed a post-operative infection and became very ill. My father called us one night and told us he thought it would not be long. My mother was in a near coma. We took a couple of days off work and went down. When we got there, we went to the hospital the next morning and were very surprised to see Mom awake and alert. She was happy and talking to us making it very clear that she was going to getting out of this hospital very soon.

The word went out quickly that Mom was awake. We went out and got a number of colourful posters to put up the walls of the very drab looking room she was in. More relatives showed up and Mom greeted everyone with a smile and a hug. It was incredible!

This lasted for two days. The day we were going home, Mom had slipped back into that coma-like state. This was the last time we saw her. The day after we went home, we got a call from my father to tell us that she was gone.

To this day still, not a day goes by that I don't think of her and thank God for her and that gift we got when we got to spend those last couple of days in her loving embrace.

My Mother taught me a lot of things including the value of life. It is worth fighting for every last second. Life is just too short and too precious to not hang on to with everything you have. So despite of and also because of everything that is happening around me, I know what a gift life is. To paraphrase a line from a movie I once saw, I will not go quietly into the night! When the grim reaper comes looking for me, he better be well armed because I will fight him with everything I have.

I will live my life as best I can and make it last as long as I can.

I love you Mom.

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