“Death is Nature’s way of saying your tables ready.”Robin WilliamsThe longer you are on this earth, the more you will be witness to your friends, family, and enemies pass from it. If you live long enough you would have the great misfortune of watching everyone that ever meant something to you pass. One of the greatest pains that I have is the thought of leaving my beloved wife alone. But, the thought of her leaving me alone is a greater and decidedly a more selfish thought in itself. The thought of having to bury my children, or grandchildren is so bitter that the mere thought of it brings on an anxiety that feels like a deep dark blanket being thrown over me.
I am not afraid of death, it is inevitable. The saying that no one gets out of here alive is the ultimate truth. Thinking that you or your loved one will be spared of this fate is to say the least is a bit naive. We as rational beings can only hope that our passing will be neat and orderly for our loved ones, painless and that we have made peace with whatever demons or gods we have chosen.
I have no answers on why certain people meet their end before others. As a doctor recently put it to a dear friend ‘it’s just bad luck”. And I think for the vast majority of us that is as good an answer as any of us will ever get. Last week a longtime friend was killed while riding his street bike to work by a woman texting. He just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, and a fool took his life from him. A man that I looked up to as a father figure passed last year. He died of an illness that has taken so many of my friends, he was in his early 80’s. And he lived a life full of adventure, fun, and love. He was an inspiration to many. Still, cancer took him and we all grieved for our loss, not his. He lived his life to the fullest and got every pennies worth. A young racer died from a head injury, we wept for what might have been, what he could have accomplished, and for what he did not get to experience in a life cut far too short. A middle-aged friend in what seemed to be perfect health dies suddenly from a heart attack. Our hearts were broken for the grandchild he did not get to watch grow, the retirement he did not get to enjoy. Death goes on and on. As I said the longer you live the more of your friends and loved ones leave us. Whether you believe in an afterlife, a heaven, a nirvana, reincarnation, or nothingness is not really the point, because you won’t know until its your turn, or you won’t know at all.
“A heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others…”
When my brother in law, whom I helped to raise and who I loved like a little brother was killed on his street bike shortly after his 21st birthday it made me try to rationalize what death and life really meant to me. In my own mind I decided that each of us is a book. Some of us have many chapters but few pages, some have many pages but few words, some have just a few chapters, and some just a few pages. It is the words that you put on each page of your life that matters, not really how many chapters but the content of those pages. Doing good for others, being a good person, being a loving person, doing the right things in your life are what fills up those pages with words. Living your life to the fullest with no regrets, being honest and productive those are the acts that fill a book of your life. Being who you are, and living your life not just to have things, possessions, or money, but, to help others in some way whether by compassion, or largesse fills those pages. In truth, the line from the “Wizard of Oz” that states “A heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others” is so true. Once you are gone you can only hope that when someone thinks about you that it is a good thought or great memory.
Not many of us know when our table will be ready.