They’re Dropping Like Flies

Today my husband bought a black suit.
I’m at an age where I am attending a lot of funerals.

Yesterday I went to a lovely celebration for my friend Stefanie’s mother. Instead of a standard viewing, wake, service and burial, there was an intimate program for immediate family and an open house for friends and extended family. For me it was a beautiful way for children to celebrate their mother.

Tomorrow, my husband attends his Grandmother’s funeral. Faye was 97. He only saw her a few times in his life.
It will be the standard kind of funeral.
Her seven children and tens of grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be there to honor her and comfort each other.

All of this is very natural. All people are born and die. We have no control over that cycle.

How we think about it and react to it is in our control.

We can decide if we want to be sad and dejected, or sad, feeling all of our feelings, and reveling in the delicious wonder of being a human being.

We get a large array of feelings as humans.
I think of it like a pendulum, swinging both high and low in equal distance. To experience the lowest lows meant you got to experience the highest highs.

The pain of losing someone close to you is the invisible battle scar that is earned by loving someone hard. You can tally them up as a life well lived… a life filled with rich relationships.

There’s a part of me that likes funerals.
We are talking about something real. Something with a deeper meaning than what TV show was on or who wore the same dress to the dance.

The grieving part is natural. Feel that. Slow down. Take care of yourself.

But be careful that you are not making a loved one’s death into something more painful than it already is.

We do this by making it mean something more than the passing of a life.

You may think something like:

I’m an orphan.
I’m all alone.
That’s my last line of defense… if my father dies, I’m next in line.
So many people have died in my life.
I’d better not get close (to someone else) it’s just going to hurt when they die.
There is no God.
She shouldn’t have been taken from me.
I should have been there for him. I could have helped more.
I could have…

You get the idea.
You can take your sorrow and spin it into a tragedy, or you can take it and make it mean something just as true that enriches your life:

My father has died. I am thankful that he lived such a full and long life.
I am grateful that I got to be there and help her transition to whatever is next. That is truly important work.
I am still here on earth on the greatest adventure called life.
I am going to make it a point to be as gracious as my mother was, and she will live on through me. What an honor.
I can help other people with their grief now that I know what it’s like. How cool is that?
It’s hard, but I know he should be gone because he is gone. It’s the circle of life.

Be sad.
Don’t push down your feelings. Don’t resist.
If you don’t resist, if you let yourself feel it fully, the pain will pass.
It will come back another day, but let it be with you then too.
Pain ebbs and flows.

Just don’t invite pain to stay through thoughts about yesterday or tomorrow.

All you have to live in is right now.

And right now, right this minute, life is just as it should be: rich and dear and heartfelt.



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