An Authentic Life @ edlamour.com

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Life. Loss. Love.

October 14th, 2014 · No Comments

 

Life.

For most it is a series of days, some good, some great, some neither. Either way, we all lay our heads on the pillow at night and imagine — or pray — that tomorrow will be better…that we’ll get another chance to do life just a bit better than today. We’ll finally conquer our to-do list…or call that old friend we’ve been meaning to reconnect with…or spend time with our family as we’ve been promising ourselves we’d do. And at the end of the next day, we again lay our heads on our pillows and know tomorrow is yet another chance to do what we’ve once again neglected to do today…

Live.

But what if today was your last chance to do all you’ve put off or planned for but never acted on? What if there were no tomorrows? Would you be satisfied with the life you’ve lived? Would you feel at peace with the state of your relationships with those you love? Or would you regret that there were things left undone, thoughts left unsaid, expressions of love still locked away in your heart but no longer able to be passed along or spoken?

Mortality.

We never think today may be our final moments of life. We’re conditioned to believe we’re necessary — to plan ahead for months, years and decades in the future. We know we’re not immortal but we are convinced we have years and years ahead of us and that belief is sustained by keeping busy, making plans and filling our daily lives with scheduled activities.

Loss.

But what if your death were only weeks, days or hours from this moment? Would you change how you live tomorrow or the limited time you have remaining? Would you carry regrets from this life to wherever the next life takes you?

Reality.

In the past two weeks, my wife and I have experienced the loss of three extraordinary people. Each of the losses were tragic and somewhat sudden — jolts to the system and one’s feeling that all is well in one’s universe. All three people were kind-hearted and generous people who led lives to be admired and who were revered by those privileged to know them.

First, my wife lost her cousin to pancreatic cancer that was diagnosed over July 4th weekend. Three short months later (spent mostly in hospitals and enduring excruciatingly painful procedures), she was gone. She leaves behind a grieving family of three young children — two sons and a daughter, a loving and devoted husband, numerous tearful relatives, her heartbroken mother, father and brother and a community where she was much beloved.

That death was followed the next week by the death of my wife’s coworker’s father. A gregarious man who was, in many ways, larger than life and healthy as an ox. He was retired and living an active life for someone in his late 70’s. He worked as a school crossing guard to stay busy and because he loved being around people of all ages…spreading joy with his jovial spirit and caring personality. All was normal in his life until one morning a seemingly harmless fall caused him to hit his head on his nightstand as he was preparing to dress and head off to his crossing guard post near the local elementary school. He drove all the way to his usual spot but never made it out of his car as the fall caused a brain hemorrhage that put him in ICU and led to further complications and a massive heart attack, resulting in death just a few days later.

And today I received the terrible news that a dear friend’s mother was taken from this earth as the result of a tragic and sudden automobile accident. One minute she was living a perfectly normal healthy life, the next moment she was with God. No warning, no health problems, and no chance to say goodbye to her loved ones or for them to bid her farewell. So tragic. So unfairly final. The kind of news no one wants to receive. Her family is understandably devastated. Friends, relatives and the several communities in which she was actively involved and much loved, all in shock.

Love.

I grapple with the issue of death and dying regularly…wondering what God has in store for me and why some of the kindest souls I know suffered the fates they did. I ask God why they were taken from us and why their lives ended as they did…trying to fit the pieces together as if they’re supposed form a clear and understandable picture and explanation. And in the end, I realize that I will never solve the mystery and that I simply must trust that His plan, while unknown to me — unknown to any of us — has a purpose. I constantly remind myself that life is fleeting, that we rarely get to choose our final day or the circumstances of our death. Yet still I struggle to grasp the finality of it all.

My mother’s courageous battle with cancer last year hammered home the realization that our best choice in life is to approach every day as if it were our last. I know it sounds morbid and a bit cliche but the reality is we should all focus on what’s most important in life and make sure we live our lives with purpose and spending whatever amount of time we’re given in this lifetime with the ones we love. We should never miss an opportunity to say, “I love you” to friends and especially family. Those three words are what we should leave our loved ones with. Those three words should never grow old. Those three words, lived to the fullest, become the comfort and strength our loved ones will remember us by. And those three words should always be accompanied by a hug and kiss while we’re living. While we still have time. Do it — and do it as often as you can. Never miss an opportunity to say, “I love you” — for you never know when that opportunity may be your last.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post. If it causes just a few extra “I love you”s to be said or a few extra hugs and kisses to be shared, it was worth every minute it took me to write it.

God bless.

Tags: Authenticity · Life

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