I’ve had death on my mind lately. We had an amazing “send-off” service for my Grandmother this past week-end. Nothing like a funeral to remind you of your mortality: not only your own, but those that you love. Even when the occasion is one to celebrate a long life, well lived, you still feel the finality of it all. I will never see my Grandma again, or talk to her, ask her questions, hug her. She’s moved on and we are still here.
All in all I think that it’s a good thing to have these reminders of life’s certain death. It makes life sweeter; a bell is rung calling for us to appreciate the time we have. Calling us to appreciate those we love, now, while we have them. I mean REALLY love them and all that comes with it. The days after a funeral may be spent clinging to each other. “I don’t ever want to lose you!”
We stop. We reflect. We look at each other differently. Resentments forgiven (flies off in the face of our gratitude for the other’s life), fights forgotten (not important after all when put into perspective), cold words put on hold (we are concentrated on comforting each other): for the day, or a week, or maybe longer.
But eventually, it all creeps back. We forget our mortality. We forget that we could lose our partner at any time. We forget life is fickle. Why? Why is it so impossible to live our life this way all the time?
Sorry to be so depressing, but really, it’s a hopeful message I’m trying to put out here.
I’m not speaking of obsessing on death, or grieving before it’s time. I am speaking of the appreciation for the fact that our loved ones are still walking this earth.
For instance, when you are arguing for the 100th time about some stupid little thing, stop and think…is this how either of you want to spend your precious time together on this earth? You will ALWAYS say NO! NO, no, no! I mean, of course not – not when you put it that way. But you can’t put it that way. That’s just not reasonable, damnit.
I mean really, life doesn’t work that way. You can’t have a relationship and forgive and forget everything just because your partner may die tomorrow. That is unrealistic and naïve. Right? I mean if you are constantly cutting your partner slack for everything they did wrong, then how the heck would anything change? How can I make my position known? If I want him to do something and he doesn’t, I can’t just give in because he could be in a car accident tomorrow. It’s ridiculous.
Is it? Is it naïve, ridiculous, unreasonable? Maybe. Perhaps sometimes a marriage needs conflict in order to change and grow. I can agree with that. But folks, don’t you think, in the big picture, that this is the exception rather than the rule? So what are we doing all of the other times? The other times when it’s not about growing as a couple, but something else…like perhaps, forgetting gratitude, or making your marriage into a battle zone where you can prove yourself the winner time and again. Feel good?
Not really, not when I put it that way.
So how do we live a life where we at least attempt to see that all moments are precious, they all count, and that once a moment is gone we can’t redo it or call it back?
What’s truly needed is a paradigm shift. The bad news here is that this kind of change is monumental…it requires rewiring the way you think. This can be gnashing your teeth kind of difficult. Your brain wants to go where it is comfortable which means you have to fight your own brain in order to make this change. The GOOD news is that the very nature of a paradigm shift is that it can change your life.
For the good. So maybe it is worth it.
If we could all have a tiny voice asking us all of the time, “Is this worth it?,” “If I lost her, would I regret this?,” “Is this worth it?,” “How would I do this differently if I knew I didn’t have tomorrow with him?,” “Is this worth it?,” “Am I showing this person how incredibly important they are to me? Daily?,” “Is this worth it?”
This is NOT about living in fear. Not at all. But instead: to live with the awareness that all the moments count. No do-overs.
So much easier said than done! This is just not realistic. Maybe not. However, why not try it out? You have nothing to lose. Maybe if you let that little voice consciously speak to you, you will find after awhile, the voice is gone, and alas, your brain has been rewired. Paradigm shift; and life is sweeter. Maybe you’ll find it’s worth the try. I hope so.
This is what happens, I guess, when a loved one dies. You get misty, and thoughtful, and question life and see a little clearer. And just because I happen to have a blog, I can work some if it out with you. Thanks.
Next week, I promise that I will try to be really funny. Maybe I’ll even get someone else to write it (Tommy?)….Or maybe something really sexy….yeah, that’s it. I’ll ask Steve to help me come up with something.
This concludes another view from my married life.