Friday, January 29, 2010

Death, and life

Death interrupted life again last week. A friend I went to high school with passed away after 37 brief years. He was the second person I knew to die this month. Both from cancer. Both in their thirties.

Unfair is a word that I've said and heard several times in the past couple of weeks. And it does seem so. Then you ask why. But some questions don't have answers.

I like to think I'll live a healthy and long life of seventy or eighty years or more. I suppose all of us do. It's easier and more appealing to put thoughts of the brevity and uncertainty of life out of my mind and continue going through the motions. But eventually and inevitably, those realities are brought to the forefront once again.

Every death serves as a reminder, that life is temporary, that people should be cherished, and that time, sweet time is so very precious. But these... these hit harder. Maybe because they were so young, or maybe because I'm getting older. This time the reminder was in big bold letters, and all caps. And it's not fading nearly so fast.

Too often, I act like I have all the time in the world. Like there will always be another day to visit a friend, spend time with Dad, mend hurt feelings or do any of a hundred things that always seem easier to put off until some other someday.

Some years ago, I came to know a girl who was a cancer survivor. She never spoke about it very much, just little bits and pieces here and there. It always struck me how she often seemed to cram as much as she could into her days. She would do more in a weekend than I'd do in two weeks. It was as if she wanted to drink up every last ounce of life and not let a single precious moment go to waste.

I never asked but always wondered if she was like that because of what she had gone through, if by looking death squarely in the eye she had come to realize the immeasurable value of time, and to cherish it as it should always be.

And I wondered why I hadn't, and didn't.

"I loved deeper, and I spoke sweeter, and I gave forgiveness I'd been denying. He said, some day I hope you get the chance to live like you were dying..."

25 comments:

  1. I wonder about that living like you're dying thing too. one of DD's confirmation classes they asked the kids to think about that, but of course it all went in one ear and out the other.

    DH came very close to dying Jan 12th and right now he is still recovering from that...so it's hard to tell if that experience will change anything for him. We'll see.

    I strive to live with no regrets. I think that if I'm to go today that I'm okay with that and everything that I've done. My bucket list hasn't been started and probably won't be, because I'm happy.

    Hugs to you on the loss of your friend.

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  2. ((hugs)) Sorry for the loss of your friend.
    Grabbing every moment does make a difference. I'm doing a lot of things this year too that I havent ever done. I am valuing time so much more with my friends and loved ones. I do believe I will have a great year because I'm going to own it! I have the most fun when I am spontaneous.

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  3. I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend. I've never been good at knowing what to say so I'll leave you with this. I hope it is an encouragement to you.
    James 1:2-4
    Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. (NLT)

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  4. Excellent post, Bone.

    But I will say one thing: there is something to said about slowing down and enjoying the small things, too. The cliche "stop and smell the roses" exists for a reason. It's not always about fitting so much in as it is about enjoying what you DO do.

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  5. After I hit publish, I realized that might have sounded weird. For sure, I agree to spend as much time with loved ones and doing things you enjoy. I was just thinking of the cancer survivor I guess, and wondering myself if she was enjoying never stopping for a moment to enjoy the small things, or if it was because she thought that's how she was supposed to act.

    Unless you see her again and ask, I guess none of us will ever know.

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  6. TC you didn't sound weird
    Bone I'm very sorry for the losses I also think you should continue living as if you have all the time in the world because maybe just maybe you have a good 50-60 more years
    Just enjoy your life, keep running, and don't be a hermit once a week--baby steps

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  7. Renee - I imagine it's one thing to say you're gonna live like that, but another thing entirely to actually have the perspective of going through a near-death experience or something like that.

    There's a whole lot to be said for simply being happy and content :)

    Thanks for the hugs.

    Daily Panic - I've done a lot more this year than normal, too. I mean, two concerts already! I think that equals my total for all of last year. ((hugs))

    SmallTownGirl - I don't think anyone really knows what to say. Thanks for the thoughts and the passage of Scripture.

    TC - Thanks. I think the small things are usually the most important. I guess I just consider spending time with family and friends a part of those "small things."

    Pia - 50 or 60 more years? I don't know if I have enough blog material :)

    I'm really coming along on the not being a hermit thing, though.

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  8. Bone I am so very sorry for the loss of your friend.

    I was thinking the same thing that TC was that sometimes it isn't the quantity it is the quality of the time with family and friends and even in what you do.

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  9. Wow. So sorry about the loss of your young friend.

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  10. Sorry for the loss of your friends Bone. I think living each day as itself is probably the best we can do.

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  11. Sorry about the loss of another friend... Good blog post, life is precious and is to be enjoyed and shared with others. Blessings

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  12. It's good to remember things like this every now and then, but all parts of life are living, even the bits that might not sound as exciting on paper. The hard part's the people really, isn't it? I often think this when I realise I've been working so much in the evenings that I haven't been sociable in weeks... I do need to make more time for seeing the people I care about. I suppose it's all a question of balance.

    I'm very sorry to hear about your friend. I hope he didn't suffer too long.

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  13. But just think...he lived long enough to see an Alabama national championship. Many went before him hoping to see such a thing. ;-)

    RE: the cancer survivor - Did she not want to waste any more time or did she not want any quiet time which would force her to think about it? I would be prone doing it for the latter reason.

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  14. For me, deaths that dont really follow the 'cycle of life' tend to be more difficult to rationalize. I am sorry for your pain and loss. It was death that sent me into a tailspin 4 years ago and, if I am honest, I live life differently since then. Not that that is all good mind you, but I do seize opportunities I might have left alone before and think about living my life to its fullest. Its made me a bit more selfish and aware that we all only get one go around here... best take the bull by the horns. On the flip side, I think I fear it more as well... and that isnt healthy either. Perhaps that is part of getting older... I am not sure. xoxoH

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  15. PennyCandy - Thank you. I just feel like I waste so much time some days. But I'm already finding myself appreciating "little" things more -- walking through a bookstore, listening to the radio. I'm even more cheerful now when my phone rings. And that wasn't always the case.

    Shelby - Thank you.

    Cooper - Thank you. I think you're probably right.

    Sage - Thanks. It is, for sure. Time is precious. And it flies. Sometimes it feels like I keep having to be re-taught that lesson.

    J Adamthwaite - I suppose the reminders are given to us for a reason. Yeah, I joke about it, but the socializing is something I struggle with sometimes. But I think I'm doing better this year, and there's nothing wrong with a bit of quality alone time, either. I think, like you said, it's all about the balance.

    Thank you.

    Murf - He actually was a really big Alabama fan :)

    That very well could have been it. I know if/when something is worrying me, I don't enjoy being along with my thoughts. Either way, I figure if someone has come through something like that, they've more than earned the right to handle it however they can/will.

    Helene - Oh, absolutely. I'm sure that's why these have hit me a bit harder. It makes you think. Not only do we just get one go around, but it's rather brief, no matter how long it lasts.

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  16. I'm sorry to hear that you lost another friend. It feels so strange, when people your own age die. A few of my classmates have passed away, and it does give me pause. And of course you said it--we don't have as much time as we think, not even in one day.

    The song that comes to my mind is Time in a Bottle, the line about never having enough time to do the things you want to do, once you find them. And the wish that you could horde time someplace, to spend on certain people.

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  17. Bone, I am so sorry to hear this...my thoughts and prayers are being sent. Yes, it's moments like this that remind us how precious life is.

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  18. every death sure does serve as a reminder Bone.. I feel the exact same way when i lose someone dear or even hear of someone who passes that's a friend of a friend. I sure am sorry for the loss of your very young friend. When a peer passes, it really does hit hard... it's a brutal reminder of just how fragile we all are. When i was in my thirties a dear friend died of breast cancer. I totally fell apart at her wake due to losing her YEs.. but also the reality Hit me so hard that this could happen to me and it would be MY kids sitting there looking devastated.. Death really is so so difficult to get through. I have to tell you .. I also agree with your friend TC.. Live your life comfortably Bone.. as if you have a long long time,(which i sure hope u do) just remember to savor every moment as the gift it truly is.
    big hugs xoxo

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  19. I'm sorry about your friend. I hate that cancer took another life. Someday there will be a cure for cancer.

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  20. This past Christmas, for the first time in my life, I thought I was going to die.

    It stopped me in my tracks for sure.

    Sometimes it's good to be in the "introspective" mentalities.

    I'm so sorry that you lost your friend. I wish I could say more.

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  21. Im so sorry you have been through so much lately... Its definitely important appreciate the good people in our lives and to live like there is no tomorrow.

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  22. AH we must be about the same age I am 37... Cancer is scary to me- it has hit up just about everyone on my father's side and rung their bell. Most of them died in their early 60's though- which is still to young.

    I do try to cram a lot in my life, I feel stir crazy if I don't. I am not sure if it ahs to do anything with mortality or because I have five kids. When I had a few kids- I was kind of more blase about life. After I had this huge family- the mind switched into wanting to be with these unique individuals as much as possible and sharing the experience.

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  23. A beautiful post, Bone. I'm sorry about your friend.

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  24. When you reach my age 70 sounds well almost sprightly and very golden girl
    There were 171 people in my high school class--we're planning a reunion and about 20 died--most younger than you
    Four of the smartest of the smart guys died of cancer young. Don't know what that means
    It's getting progressively sadder finding out about more and more
    We all only knew the best known ones. But we were such a small class for Long Island we all knew each other then--went from 7th through 12th together
    Some of us are coming to the reunion out of sentiment for the ones who are gone

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  25. I'd love to repost this on my blog, giving you all the credit of course. This really touched me, although I, at this time, don't know anyone with cancer, you just sent a message that needs to be shared. Mair

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