When I was at my father’s side as he was dying, it felt as if time had stopped, and reality was shattered into a thousand tiny shards. It happened in a blink of time. But when death visits, the world continues to turn.
As your loved one gasps for breath and the scent of death permeates the room, your grandson cuts his knee and needs stitches. Your friend has a double mastectomy, the nurse locks her keys in the car, your mother nurses a broken shoulder, and the plumbing backs up.
When death drapes itself on you and your family, nothing matters. Your friend has a sinus infection and shares the details. You nod and listen, wondering if she has any idea of how ridiculous it seems to be talking about sinuses. But you listen, because you love that person and one thing that death teaches you is that you never want to miss an opportunity to be kind.
The troubles seem to keep pouring on, but in fact, life always has troubles. Normally, you just roll with the punches, but now you are too vulnerable to roll.
It all passes. If you are really lucky, you will have a moment of clarity and wonder what you are going to do with your precious life. Most of us will squander this insight, and forget that life is exquisitely short, and that every minute matters. Later you’ll turn your attention to TV, Facebook, and other devices, anything that takes your attention away from death.
Or perhaps, you will be the exception, and you grab hold of your loved ones and the precious moments of life ahead, and life is transformed beyond your wildest dreams.
I wonder which I will choose? If you are the exception, please tell me how you stopped from slipping back to old habits and how you grabbed hold of life.