Death is never an enjoyable thing to have to deal with. It’s a scary, almost incomprehensible thing. It hurts us, shocks us, and makes us ponder “what’s next?” If we are not conscious of our attitude and perspective, we can easily become bitter. On the flip side, we can choose instead to become more than we were before.
More thankful. More dedicated. More present.
In the past six weeks I have lost two of my grandparents to ill health. They were married for 40 years and died less than a month apart. In fact, my Nana passed first on their 40 year anniversary. It was a shock to us all… as it usually is.
We attended my Grandad’s funeral in Tennessee, and I was able to spend time with many family members whom I don’t get to see very often. He was a marine, and was given a full military honors funeral. It was a beautiful ceremony. As the marines fired their guns, I painfully realized that this was the finale of my Grandfather’s life on earth.
Yes, I have had to grieve. I continue to do so in small ways everyday. I have to let myself feel the pain, which is uncomfortable. But allowing sadness or bitterness to take root in my heart is not an option. That would not be honoring to myself, or to the people who have died whom I love.
Grief can be turned into something powerful and life changing. It reminds us of the fragility of life. It causes us to question waiting to be or do what we love. It can be turned into gasoline on the fire of desire to fight for what matters; to create something that makes a difference; to love without limits.
Death makes us question why we are here. It cannot be ignored, in much the same way that new life cannot be. It is what makes all of us the same. Whether you believe that this life is the end of you or not, your moments on this earth are precious and important.
Tell your partner how much they mean to you. Cuddle up with your kids at bedtime and tell them a story. Call or skype with your out of town friends and family. Because what do you have if you don’t have relationship?
Use hardship to change your perspective. Honor what is important. Start fervently working towards accomplishing something you have always wanted to do. Make those who have gone before you proud.
And remember… embrace the hurt, remember it, but don’t allow yourself to live there forever. Turn it into something powerful and world changing.