It’s one thing to learn of a loved one’s passing and to see them in their stillness one last time. It’s quite another to see a person go from walking and talking to slipping away. To actually see them take their last breath and feel that presence transition from the room, can be quite traumatic. I experienced this earlier this year with my dad.
I’m so grateful to have spent the last weeks, days, hours, minutes with my dad, though it was difficult. However, I must say that since then I have reflected a lot on the concept of mortality. This in combination with a fall on my bike this summer that could have ended so much worse than it did, another incident where I was hit by a biker, and a variety of images and news of Chicago youth and adult being killed by shootings have given me some perspective on our humanness.
I don’t want to actually say fear, because I focus and believe in living out loud, boldly and not in fear, but there are occasional thoughts about what could happen not just in stepping outside but any day at any time. I guess it’s a certain sense of vulnerability of life that I never faced before seeing my dad’s life on this earth cease. In some ways it has been uncomfortable, but I’ve had to explore it in order to deal with it.
And what I have experienced is another lesson in surrendering and simply being grateful. In dealing with the passing of a loved one, one thing I’ve learned to embrace is the fact that I was grateful to have them in my life for the time that I did. My belief is that we are all God, our creator’s first and foremost and the blessing to us is that He allows us to have them in our life experience for a time…but they are not ours. So, when that time is over, rather than looking at it as a loss, I focus on what I had for that time. I’m learning to apply that to my own life.
We as human beings, this life, our humanness, we are so attached to it because it’s all we know, however, it like many things in it are a unique gift. And like many other things at any time, any place, it too will end, however, to focus on when and how that can happen is a waste of time. That takes away from the time, the people, and the purpose for which we have been created and given this life in the first place.
This week in remembrance of a lot of things from this year, I recalled a quote from another who transitioned this year. “When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live.” – Stuart Scott
Though Stuart’s quote focused on his personal battle with cancer, I felt that it also applies to anything that will have us in fear, vulnerable, warry, and keep us from living fully for the time that we are given. So, I decided to do a little remix of this quote for anyone that may be feeling stagnant, scared, at a loss or whatever may be holding you back. Whatever it is, be it your health, violence, fear, loneliness, regret, guilt, your past…fill in the blank below and use it as your mantra for how you will choose to live.
“When it’s all said and done, it does not mean that you lose to _____________. You beat ____________ by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live.”