Sometimes life hits you upside the head and sets you reeling. That happened to me recently and I thought I'd write about it. I know I haven't been a steady blogger of late but I really do have to write about this.
Last week my cousin Kathy died. The thing that made this so difficult was that I never believed it would happen even though she'd spent the last four decades fighting melanoma. She treated her cancer as something to live with rather than something to die from and that is how I came to think of it. When her health faltered and she didn't send out her normal Christmas missive I believed it to be just a hiccup on the road to a new treatment or therapy that would keep her going. This time she wasn't that lucky.
Kathy was eleven months younger than me and the first of our generation in the family to pass away. That may not seem like something to be noted, but when the first in a generation is lost you know that you truly are mortal. Up to that point you can say to yourself "Well s/he was older than me. I have time yet. No need to worry." It's at that point that you realize, maybe for the first time, that it could have been you. It wasn't this time but it might be you the next time. Are you ready to let go? Is anyone?
If you haven't yet felt that slap from life let me assure you IT WILL COME. At some point when you least expect it you will be reminded of your own mortality. You'll wonder if you are as happy as you could be. Have you loved enough, laughed enough, done anything on your bucket list? Do you even have a bucket list? Will you be missed? Will you be mourned?
Now I need to digress just a bit. While I was writing this blog today I received a note from my nephew. He is twenty-nine, single, fun loving, and a fine man. He was with us this weekend to say goodbye to our cousin and after returning home he learned that a close friend, a member of a close knit circle of friends, had committed suicide. Can there be anything worse than to think that perhaps if you had said or done something just a bit differently that you may have prevented a suicide?
I've always gone with the thought that, in most instances, suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. I think that you have to be desperate and at the absolute end of your rope to even think about it. I feel sorry for the friends and family the young man left behind. They will never think of all the joy that was shared with him without also feeling confused and betrayed by his final act.
After all of that I come down to the original point I wanted to make and that is to enjoy life to the fullest while you can. Tell those you treasure that you love them. Spend time with them. Don't put it off. You think there will be time but unless you are the proud owner of a crystal ball or a time machine how can you be certain of that? If it's a question of dusting a table or playing with a child and you pull out the feather duster then I feel sorry for you. You will live in that child's memory as someone who brought joy to their life. Will the table remember that it was dusted?
Enjoy your life. Kathy enjoyed her life despite her cancer and there were hundreds of people who attested to that fact the other day. Hers was a sendoff full of laughter as well as tears. If life is hitting you upside your head use my cousin as an example and live your life to the fullest. Tell folks how you feel about them and don't put it off until tomorrow or the chance may pass you by.
|A recent shot of Kathy and my Uncle Jack.|