We live. We die. The end.
Not quite the beginning of a writing one would expect. But I think it pretty much sums up, in three sentences, a story.
I cannot sleep. I was pondering the death of my dad. Not how he died, but the simple “he lived and then he died.” Is that really the end?
He had very few possessions, no wealthy bank accounts, his home isn’t worth the effort to sell. All his worldly possessions were only valuable to him. As his daughter, his items mean nothing to me, but likely meant a lot to him. Now, he’s dead and his possessions mean nothing to him.
In fact, he no longer has an earthly body. He was cremated. So that wraps up his story. I guess. Right? Doesn’t that wrap up all our stories. We are made of the earth; we go back to the earth.
But what about those of us still here? Still living this life? Without the person who has passed on. Does this mean that they are suppose to just move on and forget about the person who died? After all, we live we die the end.
No amount of prayer, grief, or tears will change the hands of time. No amount of money, belongings or inheritances can take the place of the lost loved one. No planning or preparation can remotely ready the heart, head and soul for the death of a loved one. Yet, we mourn as if all of this will change anything. We beg God to bring them back. We yell out in anger hoping for that one miraculous, “Oh he’s still alive.” We bargain and barter, “I will change, just bring him back.” But nothing.
Death is the one final guarantee in this life. You can change spouses, your friends, your lifestyle, your health, your jobs, your path. You cannot change your death. It will happen. And it is final. How we cope with this finality is a choice.
Some people cry uncontrollably, have emotional outbursts, are unable to do daily tasks. Some push through the emotion, properly channel it, and work through it maybe through exercise, jobs, or other tasks. Others partition that experience off, pretending that it never existed in the first place.
The one question that people get when someone dies is, “Was it expected?” Is an expected death supposed to be easier to deal with than an unexpected death? It’s still a death. Someone still died and left this world. Their earthly body no longer existing for our engagement.
My dad’s death was preventable. I am not sad that he died. I understand death as a part of life. I am sad that my children won’t get to experience him as a grandpa, that I won’t get to hang out with him when I’m in my 40s and 50s. I am sad that he left this world so young. But death, I am not sad about. I’m angry about the now miss opportunities, the missed celebrations. Death, I am not sad about.
I look at death very differently than a lot of people I know. Life and death are linked together. Permanently. We cannot change that. Our days have been numbered. We cannot change that. As unfortunate as it is to have lost my dad so young, it was his chosen day to die. How can I be angry about that? How can I be confused about that?
I am dealing with my dad’s death much differently than some, I suspect. I am heartbroken that I cannot call him, see him, or visit with him. I am not sad that he has left this crazy world for the next.