This week I have experienced the death of two people, one being young and the other old. One was a young man who worked for me a couple of years and the other was my great aunt. These are their stories:
The young man had been struggling through life, having been recently seperated from his wife and kids. Also his father had passed away during this time and he had already lost a young daughter. This young man had health problems and depression issues and just couldn't seem to get his life on track. He muddled through college while working for me and finally graduated last year with a teaching degree. His passion, he shared with me, was history and kids. After graduating he resigned from my place and went to teach high school. This was his first year to teach. After struggling with his place in the scheme of things, and finally getting it together to do something he really enjoyed, he died. Yep, died in his sleep they think. Found him in his house, alone. Natural causes. He was 42.
My great aunt lived in the same area all her life. Her husband had died 40 years ago and she had lived alone since that time. Her sons and daughters and grandkids all lived in the same area. They were a close family. She was very active, fiesty, mentally alert. A strong middle class everyday american who was born during the tough times of this country, lived through two World Wars, saw a man on the moon, microwave ovens and cell phones, television. Starting with her 70th birthday the family got together to mark the event, because 70 is quiet an accomplishment. I went to her 94th birthday and she was sharp as a tack mentally and physically pretty good as well. Her physical health declined recently and rapidly and she was put in hospice this week. She lived a good life and I know she wouldn't want to linger that way. She was 96.
We grow up with the thought that there is a proper order to life. The way things should go: Birth. childhood. teen years. young adult. college. marriage. family. death of grandparents. career. death of parents. retirement. our own death. But this isn't the course of things for many. Its a worldview that doesn't hold as true for some as others. Its what we would like to happen. Its often expected but not guaranteed. We use expressions like "cut down before their prime" or "died before he got to live" or something of that nature. Our expectations are at least a reasonable amount of time on the planet.
We make our plans. We set our goals. We go about our days as if tomorrow is a sure bet. But nothing is. All we are assured of is this moment. This is it. I can't be sure I will finish this post. Probably will, but you really don't know.
So what did you do with today? How did you spend it? Did you talk to your favorite person? Did you breath? Did you look around at the beauty of the planet? Did you listen to your favorite song? Did you make that phone call you've been putting off?