My mother-in-law used to say that you start off going to happy events in life like weddings, baptisms, birthdays, graduations. As the years pass by you find yourself attending more funerals and fewer weddings.
Soon you’re opening the obituary pages before you read the rest of the newspaper wondering who you’ll know this time. She got to the point where her classmates where dropping like flys. You wonder…why are they so obsessed with death?
But one day you find yourself on the other side of it and you begin to understand what you couldn’t in your earlier years. How can you not think of it? Death begins to feel as if it’s in your face all the time as parents, siblings, classmates, and friends are dying. There’s always the painful few that are too young and unexpected.
Now my kids don’t like hearing their dad and I talk about death and dying the same as we were at their age. I was reading that Americans are a death denial culture. We avoid the topic and when we don’t allow ourselves to talk about things we don’t understand it creates more significant fear around it.
There’s not much we can do to change the fact that we’re all going to die someday. Maybe the most important thing about facing this reality comes from the wake-up call it gives us. Like my dad used to say, ”I looked in the obituaries today, and when I didn’t see myself I was reminded I’m still alive.” Once that reality sets in we can actually use what we read to help us reflect and reevaluate our own lives. Am I living my life the best I can, being kind to others, fulfilling my goals, living my purpose, filling my soul with the best experiences I can show it? As long as we’re still breathing we have the opportunity to become better and better at what God created us to be.
We owe it to the people we care about who pass away to live our life to the fullest. Because when we do, they continue to live on in us.
This is dedicated to Kathy McDowell my husband’s cousin, Baby Lucas Dicely our great-nephew, Rob Finger, and Peggy Anderson our life-long friends who all passed away within the past year.