And frankly, why it pisses me off

Death sucks.  There’s a revelation, huh?  I’m a Christian and I believe in eternal life but this death thing really pisses me off sometimes.  I’ve always been scared of and sometimes fascinated by death.  Almost as large as life, death is the great mystery.  What happens?  Where do our minds or our souls go in death?  What is it like when our bodies cease to be?  I worried about death for a long time and that worry ran counter to my Christian beliefs.  Or so I thought until I talked to my best friend about it.  He’s in the religion business, really more so the God business because he’s not much of a dogma conformist.  He told me it’s okay to worry and be afraid of death and to wonder about it.  Since we know so little for certain about what happens after we die and the whole process, you can fear it and still be a Christian, a believer.  That made me feel a lot better about my fears.  But I still think death sucks.

Because as much as I’ve been at the end of my rope with my struggles with depression, life is still a lot better than death.  But here’s where death makes me mad.  As soon as you think you’re okay with death, that it’s a better place for the one who died, that they’re free from the pain and the fight against some bitch of a disease (cancer sucks too) you realize what’s been lost.

About a year ago a member of our church congregation died.  My wife had been taking meals to her off and on for quite some time.  Over the course of many visits with a hot meal or helping out with Christmas or shoveling snow for her and her family we’d grown attached.  We both truly cared about this young woman who was fighting so courageously against her disease.  Throughout all the hospital stays and trips for treatment to medical centers we had become friends.  Our efforts were no longer the acts of fellow Christians, not to diminish those things, but we loved her and her family.  My wife came to know her better than I did I suppose but here’s the thing.  I only knew her as a person who was ill.  I only knew her as a person whose body had been attacked by her conditions.  I met her when she was too ill to work and focusing all her energy on beating her afflictions.  When she passed away, well, that’s when I was smacked square in the face with how much death sucks.

At her visitation there was the typical milling around of the crowd and in a corner the television with the obligatory video loop of pictures from her life.  That’s where I was reminded of how much death pisses me off.

Here were pictures of a person I had never known.  Here were pictures of a young, vibrant woman, a woman who was not struggling with death but living life with all of its gifts and beauty and wonderment and I realized what death had done.  It had taken a young woman and through its grinding certainty it had forced her to succumb to its will.  Death had taken her ability to live, and not just take breath.  Death had taken her life, a life that that I can only hope her children were observant enough to see as an example.  Somehow the part about us dying doesn’t gall me as much, I suppose.  I understand that our bodies wear out.  I know we can’t live forever but this was different.  Death took her life, the life she possessed; the life I never knew.  What I do know is that she fought death with a courage I’m not sure I possess.

Through all the hospitals and treatments and setbacks and struggles she fought for her life.  Even as she struggled to continue, her concern was for her family after she wasn’t around physically.  In the many days throughout this fight she battled to remain thankful and show us how to live in whatever circumstances we find ourselves.  She fought to retain her humanity even as death assailed her both physically and mentally.  I’m angry that death chose such a warm, caring and kind person to come for but I will always remember her for who she was throughout all of her life.  The life when I knew her and the life in that video.  I was lucky to have seen one and even luckier to have known the other.

You shouldn’t really talk about death (probably can’t) without talking about life.  Like it or not they’re inexorably linked.  I suppose if a guy is really hacked off about one he ought to love the other, right?  Every week here I talk about life stuff.  I hope you like it and it makes you think a little bit.  If you want to read more, click this to go to my blog’s home page to check out more stuff.  If you get something out of what I write I hope you’ll subscribe to my blog.  It’s free and means you will get an email on Saturdays with links to the week’s posts, nothing more, nothing less.  I never sell or share emails so no worries regarding spam.  You can subscribe here by clicking this or at the home page.  Thanks