Death Always Stares Us Down

Posted by RJ on Thursday, November 3, 2011

The subject of death is not something our society likes to hear about, read about or talk about.  Yet, death enters our lives as the great thief in the night, and we are left to deal with feelings we may not have realized could run so deep.  I experienced this about twenty months ago when both of my parents died within less than two months of each other.  The entire wake and funeral process was surreal because people tend to come to funeral homes and pay very little attention to the deceased.  It just seems to become a reunion of friends-- the survivors. 

When my parents passed on, my pastor (who had recently lost his own mother) was loving and compassionate. But he said one thing which didn't help me much at the time-- "Things don't get better."  I wish I could recall if he added some words like "right away" or "for a long time,"  but I recall no such qualifiers.  However, he was right.  I believe that C.S. Lewis put a handle on it when he wrote. "No one ever told me that grief felt so much like fear."  I will just add to that a paragraph just printed in a religious magazine, The Liguorian:

          It is a frightening turn in life when someone we love is no longer present.  When a person with whom we shared a significant loving relationship  dies, we miss the security that person gave us-- whether as a spouse, parent, sibling, or friend-- and we miss his or her love.  We try to cope and go on , but it can be overwhelming.  We can feel stuck, rooted in the time and place when everything was altered so quickly.

The purpose of this posting is not to be morbid or sad, but it reflects a reality we all live with, in one degree or another, daily.  In the senior independent living complex where I now live (and am the youngest person there) I see many healthy and active people, and I also see some who are very close to death from illness or merely very advanced age. 

A very unpleasant reality is that many of the families of these residents rarely, if ever, visit.  Friends and neighbors don't appear to be visiting. Their excuses are usually that they get depressed seeing a loved one in frail health. 

Is there someone in your family, or an elderly friend, who could have a brighter day if you visited or even sent a card/note?

For their sake, and yours, think about reaching out where you KNOW it is needed.






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