Amazingly, it has been a week since 32 people’s lives were ended early by a very disgruntled man on a college campus. Over the past week I’ve done much thinking about death, having witnessed it first hand and from afar. It really is a tough topic to contemplate as I’m preparing to be a parent. For whatever reason it really changes your outlook.
Not only did those 32 people die in the past week, but a family friend of my wife’s passed on Friday night. She was 88 years old and so incredibly full of life. I met her a couple times and her presence will definitely be missed. Her family runs a publishing company for horticulture books and will continue to do so in her absence.
When a loved one is lost, it causes us to slow down and reflect on our own lives. Are we doing what we want to do with our lives? What’s our purpose? Am I happy? How can this happen? What about my will? How will I be remembered? Do we have emergency plans in place?
All sorts of questions, thoughts, and worries race through our minds. There are days when life seems completely unbearable and you’re not sure how you can move on. Somehow though, it does happen and the wounds heal slightly each day. It’s not a fast process and doesn’t progress at the same rate for everyone. When my siblings passed away I was in shock and didn’t know where to turn. I thankfully have incredibly supportive friends who were willing to listen, providing me with an outlet for my emotions. The first few days were absolutely painful and then days became weeks and weeks became months.
Personally my brother’s death triggered an awakening in my life. In 1991 one of my siblings died in a car accident. I think the first 18 years of my life were blissfully ignorant of the world around me. Even after losing my first sibling in 1989, I shut down a bit and didn’t fully deal with his loss. I made sure this wasn’t the case in 1991. I came out of my shell when my brother passed away. The sudden nature of his loss shook me to the core. I took his death to signify how life is about living and enjoying it to the fullest. This can be a drawback as I don’t think long-term as often as I should. However, I think it enables me to enjoy "the now" and appreciate the small things.
I would do anything in the world to bring both of my siblings back. It has been far too long since they last invaded my dreams, but their memories always linger. They’ve never left my thoughts as there’s not one day since either of their deaths where I didn’t think about them. Death can be a lot like birth, a reason to celebrate life.
TODAY’S RULED OUT BABY NAMES: Andrea, Donna, Cindy, Gina, Brenda, and Camille. (theme = girls of Beverly Hills 90210)