Friday, August 1, 2008

Death, a part of life

Wow, 2 posts in the same day. This one came to me while writing that other introspective.

This year I have seen the loss of 2 great people. Earlier this year my wife Chris' grandmother Jeanne Robert passed away. Even though we were only related through marriage I was glad to have known her and have fond memories of her. And this summer I lost my last living grandparent and probably the most influential, my grandmother Maurene Davis. She was the typical grandmother and a strong figure in the family. Both will be missed but lovingly remembered.

But these were not the only losses I have endured. I lost both my grandfathers in their 70's. My other grandmother to cancer in her 80's. Chris' estranged father to heart failure in his 50's. And my mother to an auto accident at the young age of 38. Unfortunately these won't be the last since like it or not, death is a part of life.

I have developed my own thoughts and ways of dealing with death over the years. Probably loosing my mother at such a young age gave me an early start on my thought process. I have never been a big fan of funerals or the grieving process (although pain is a natural feeling after loosing someone dear to us). But I prefer to think about those that I have lost at their best not at the worst. I feel it is my responsibility as a living person to remember those that I knew that are no longer here in the best way that I can. No matter how many mistakes they made when they were alive or how sick they were or how much pain they might have felt. It just seems like such a waste to me to dwell on the negative of a persons entire life instead of keeping the best of them in our memory.

So I prefer to remember those that I have lost the way I want to remember them instead of sobbing with my fellow mourners over how they left us. My hope is that when my time is up that those that knew me would do the same.

My life

I was reading our friend Marc Acito's blog this morning like I do every day. And I re-read his blurb about himself. It says "he leads a blessed life". Forgetting for a moment about the religious sounding tone I asked myself do I have a blessed life?

Truthfully I have always been a little embarrassed about how lucky my life has been. I wonder sometimes if that's what a WWII veteran felt like after surviving 4 years at war uninjured. Not to say that I have not had some tough times or been touched by tragedy. Loosing my 38yr old mother to a car accident when I was 20 is something I'll never get over. I've had to deal with some crappy jobs and had to deal with some tough family issues.

But I think that I have been fortunate to be born a white male and even though I don't think about it much some of what has landed at my feet is probably due, unfortunately, to the way the world works. I've always been able to find a job. And sometimes have made really good money. I've always been able to buy the things I really want and do the things I really want to do.

So what is so blessed about my life? Well, I have a family that loves me. I have a wife who I have spent more of my life with than without and who loves me and who means more to me than anything else in my life. Currently I have a great job situation. Our recent set of cats are the best we have ever had and I have been fond of them all. I have traveled to the UK a number of times and had the chance to see the bigger world and share it with friends and family. I have met and befriended some great people. I have never had to really suffer any real hardship (that alone makes it a blessed life).

That's why I feel so embarrassed about how good my life has been almost without any effort on my part or any real sacrifice. But I wouldn't change a thing. And for what it's worth I will always be greatful for it even if I'm a little bit ashamed about how lucky I am.