Life is a gift, make wise choices

The Way I See It

by DON WEST

Maybe it is the time of year or maybe I have just taken notice, but regardless, it seems recently that many of my friends and acquaintances are dealing with the death of a loved one. Of course, the fact of life is that death is a part of it. None of us are getting out of here alive.

It seems that some believe they are going to have an armored car following the hearse, but most only leave with that which they came into this world – nothing. I’ve known people who are overly generous and willingly shared time, talent, and treasures while here on earth and others who pinched a nickel so hard the buffalo had a bowel movement, but that is a whole other column.

Though I experienced the loss of a spouse nearly 10 years ago, I can hardly attend a funeral or wake today when someone mentions, “Well, you know what I am going through; you’ve been there before.” Though I have experienced the loss, I don’t consider myself any kind of authority on death. Many have lost loved ones, spouses, parents, children, siblings, etc. and each must deal with those deaths the best way they can. Personally, God gave me the strength through family and friends to learn to accept the loss I encountered, but not all have God in their lives or are fortunate enough to have family and friends to help them deal with their particular loss.

There are still unanswered questions in my mind and I’m sure others incur some of the same feelings. Did I not do something I could have? Were there signs of upcoming health problems that I didn’t see? Was I insistent enough or inquisitive enough to have her seek medical help? Could I have done anything more than I did? Or, do I just accept the fact that we all die, some at a very young age, some in the prime of life, and some after years on this earth. Though we do have some control, there are many who think they are totally in control and that is, to me, absurd. Hell, maybe she wanted to leave. Living with me is no bed of roses for anyone and I can sure understand anyone who would want to bail out.

Under the caption, “Those Things I cannot Control” would definitely be understanding life and the death that accompanies it. Did God take that loved one from us to prevent future suffering? That certainly is possible. I’ll have some of these questions to ask when I get to the other side. I’ve known people who were aware of medical problems they incurred but only acknowledged the problems and chose to not seek any medical treatment. Maybe that was an unselfish gesture because they didn’t want to leave family with financial burdens. Maybe it was selfish, believing those who were left behind would be better off without them in a debilitated state of health. Another point under the above caption is “be careful what you pray for”. If you pray for someone’s life to be saved and they spend years in a vegetative state while you care for them, have your prayers been selfish? Have you done what was best for the other or did you just consider your own selfish needs?

Life is complicated and death isn’t a resolution to those who are left behind. Until we accept death as a part of life, until we realize that our work here is not yet finished and get on with the job, we only perpetuate the horrible feelings of loss that we must encounter.

Moving on does not mean we loved them any less, or we don’t honor their memory, it only means that life is a gift and we can’t give the gift to those who are no longer here. We honor their memory by giving the gifts we shared with them to those who can benefit from the wisdom our departed left with us. While they were here, they made good and bad choices – they left a legacy – a history for us to ponder and from which we can profit if we choose wisely.

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Posted by on Dec 12 2013. Filed under Editorial Columns. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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