Death’s Knock

Photo credit: _Hadock_ / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

People don’t always know how to react to death. A close co-worker of mine died this past weekend. I could hardly hold myself together after I heard about it. She haunted my steps because she was part of my routine. And now I was expected to go on with my routine as if nothing had changed. But everything had. I had just seen her a few days ago. Thank goodness, she was in high spirits after a  battle with her health.

When I hit the parking lot on my way to lunch, I was already crying. Once I got home, I finally felt like I could release all the sorrow. And I’ll tell you what, it felt good to finally let it all out. But why did I feel like I needed to hide away to cry? I mean, it’s death. No one can tell you to be ashamed of crying for a lost life. Or can they?

From what I have observed, people do whatever they can to push themselves farther from death’s door. Some resort to indifference, even if they have to fake it. Others try jokes, which can come across as morbid or disrespectful, especially to those who really care about the life lost. Some even talk and speculate so much that it becomes gossip. And maybe that’s what some of them want. Because gossip is better than facing death. Another common response is pretending it never happened. I’ve done that too much myself. And this time, I refuse to ignore it. I lost a friend, not just a co-worker. And I’m still dealing with that fact.

No one wants to face death. No one wants to admit how helpless it makes us all feel. That’s why it invokes such fear and confusion. How do you stand against something so utterly powerful? We can’t do much except fight it and most of the time that only prolongs the struggle. We still can’t win against death.

Most of us try to get far enough away that we can’t hear death’s knock. But we’re always just a step away from it, despite the illusion that we’re immune. My co-worker was only 50 years old. She died thinking she would come back to work on Monday like always. She was so excited about a grandchild soon to be born. She thought she had tomorrow, as we all do.

I’m not writing this to be gloomy, so I hope it doesn’t come across that way. It’s just, since I heard about her death, I’ve noticed more beauty around me. The sky was amazing yesterday. There was a faded pink sunset and only a few clouds to hold the color. Birds flew carelessly above me. Then, this morning, I drove right into a sunrise more beautiful than that sunset. This is a new beginning. It’s amazing how death can make you appreciate life so much more.

Life is too short. Everyone always says it, but it takes death to make us feel it fully. I turn 30 in a few months, so 50 doesn’t seem that far off. And that scares me. I’m not afraid of turning 30; actually I’m embracing it. But 50 is too young to die.

What I have learned through this is to stop waiting. Do what you intend to now. You never know when you might hear a knock. Don’t sit around being miserable. Do something. Pursue your happiness. Don’t let others’ reactions bring you down. Often, they don’t realize how powerful their words are.

Make your own positive words more powerful. Don’t give up on getting the gold.

Live.

Photo credit: _Hadock_ / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

 

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Wonderfully Mundane

Sometimes we need small reminders about the good things in our lives. It’s easy to get used to what we have and to overlook our blessings. It may take someone else’s fresh look at our life to give us new perspective. But it’s rare to hear what other people honestly think about our lives. For many people, compliments are harder to pass along than negativity.

The next best thing is occasionally taking that trip down memory lane. Ever since the invention of digital cameras, most of us have taken more than enough pictures of us doing anything and everything you can think of. We no longer have to wait a few days or *gasp* a week to see how our photos turned out. And that means we have more pictures of the seemingly mundane things we do throughout the day.

For me, those mundane moments have given me great perspective. My husband and I recently filled the memory card on our camera (yes, we still use a real camera and not just our phones to snap pictures). In the process of getting the old pictures on my computer, I got to see what my life was like just a few years ago.

Things have changed in small ways, but my life is very different now compared to just three years ago. It was the very beginning of my marriage. It’s interesting to see how our living room was arranged because those things tell our story. We had to improvise to find room for two households of stuff in one house. There are pictures of us vacuuming, sitting at the computer, cooking, etc. For anyone who wants to argue about why we would take pictures of that, just take a look at half of the selfies out there and you might think we’re a bit more sane.

For us, those pictures mean more because of the look of happiness on our faces, the pet cages in the background, or just the feeling we get when we remember what our life was like at that time. It was the fresh, new take on marriage, the calm before the storm of trouble that every relationship finds, and an optimistic view on life and careers. So much more than vacuuming. No one else may get it. To everyone else it’s just vacuuming. To me, it’s life in all its beauty. The small bursts of happiness are what add up to make life worth living.

So don’t wait for someone to compliment you on your lifestyle. It doesn’t matter what they think anyway. Use those mundane snapshots to remind you how far you’ve come and how blessed you are. I’m beginning to see my life with a clear perspective. And it’s beautiful in all the horrible and wonderful ways combined. Wonderfully mundane.

Photo credit: MildlyDiverting / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

 

Photo credit: MildlyDiverting / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)