A Matter Of Life And Death
You and I live beside a thin dividing line. All our dreams, plans, and desires flow on toward an infinitely distant horizon. While todays worries, uncertainties, and slights can so preoccupy our minds it’s a struggle to get our mind anywhere beyond the here and now.
Yet there is and always will be something illusory about life. So long as it sidesteps its opposite we are miss the whole picture.
Then, suddenly, along comes a jolt. Like a train jumping the tracks, you are shaken awake to the reality of death and try to make sense of it as best you can.
You may have noticed I haven’t posted in a while and there’s a reason for that. My brother died last week. Killed in a car crash in Thailand. His wife, badly injured, remains seriously ill in hospital.
I don’t know about you but I can imagine some people dying. Whether because they live a high risk life or simply to be waiting to pass away, you wouldn’t be surprised to hear they’ve died.
But some people, like my brother Alex, feel like they are here to stay. If anyone seems frail, it’s everyone else because they intend to get on with living by making life happen in a big way.
Still, whether robust or frail, we don’t tend to talk about it. Denying the reality of dying is mandatory in most modern cultures where even the word has been whitewashed to become “passing”.
Those who subscribe to the view that death is merely a little sleep between this life and heaven make it seem minor. Having completed their mission here on terra firma, your loved one’s departure is nothing more than a hop, skip, and jump to the afterlife. Meaning, there’s no reason to grieve.
But for me, the fact is, the loss is intense (it hurts). And the ripple effects of that pain keep on spreading right throughout your life.
Every time you lose a loved one, you are viscerally reminded of that fine line between life with all its pressing possibilities and the confronting emptiness of death.
Yet, despite the raw pain there is something brutally truthful about this experience. Seeing both sides makes the preciousness of life all the more real.
Denial is not only deceptive but potentially cruel as it feeds our anxieties and makes our encounters with death all the more explosive. Whereas, accepting this other side to natural life gives living more significance. By seeing how finite and crucial our impact can be, we can be in no doubt that what we do matters. And the past ten days have been an intense and highly emotional reminder that everything you and I think, say, and do… matters.
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