Is it me, or is there a pall hanging in the air right now?
I’m looking for something good, but I don’t see anything but sadness.
When he asked me that question, a rhetorical one, really, I could relate. A dear friend was in the hospital. Someone heading up a project for me had to resign at the 11th hour because a sibling had a major stroke; this was on top of a big delay because another sibling of theirs dropped dead unexpectedly two months before.
What is going on?
Life is going on, that’s what I’ve come to see. It’s life. Which –at our ages now–comes with sickness and even death.
As much as we’d like to believe we’ll live into infinity, we won’t.
“I won’t be with you forever,” my friend said she told her grown children recently.
Hey, I’m not going to kid you. Mortality smacks us in the face, hard, at this age, as we watch our loved ones go through things–and as we cope with stuff ourselves that we never dreamed of when we were younger.
The fact that our friends and family will die–that we’re going to die? A hard pill to swallow. Coping with loss is hard.
There’s a lot of talk these days about how people want to deny aging. About injectables, cosmetic surgery and other interventions.
I won’t do any of that. But here’s an intervention worth doing: eternal life.
No, I’m not going to walk down the Christian path here, as I’m not Christian. Or Jewish. Or Buddhist. Or Hindu.
But I do believe in eternal life. Just not as we know it now, here on earth. That spark that’s uniquely ours? It goes on, in some form that we simply can not imagine right now. Not unless we have had a near-death experience.
Here’s another way I won’t kid you: even that belief is not much of a consolation when I see my loved ones suffer and some even die. My life should go on the way it always has, I think to myself, with all the same people and events. Everyone should be well.
But that’s not realistic. My parents have died. Other family transitions have occurred. Some friends have gotten sick and others have passed into the next life.
It’s not a pall, it’s age that’s hanging in the air, and with aging comes sad events. So what are we to do with that?
Loss requires the perspective that joy brings. When bad stuff happens, I look for the good to balance it out. My life has plenty of good and so does yours.
I think of my delightful Riley and my unbelievably fabulous husband. My loving friends around the globe. My three smart, handsome nephews and the joy they bring to my life. (I stopped using quotes around nephews last month. They are all my nephews, although I share blood with only one.)
I talk to my husband about our next trips.
Rather than feel sad, I am inspired by the courage so many bring to their challenges.
I appreciate my writing and the creative spark that’s driving me to make fun changes to my home.
Like my friend, I will not be here forever. My nephews will age and I will be only a memory to them. That thought brings tears to my eyes. I can’t fathom it.
But that emotion? Those tears? They’re signs that I am living fully the time I have been assigned.
Which is all that we can ask of ourselves.
And we should ask it, for sure.