While this post won't be funny or cute, it will be earnest and comes straight from the heart:
Someone I loved very much passed away this morning.
While the particulars aren't important, the fact is that someone's time was up. And though we may never fully understand the meaning of life and death, we cannot deny the terrible impact this severing of mortal ties has on those left behind who each, in his or her own way, must grapple with such loss.
I can't stop thinking about it.
And about my own mortality as well.
And about how incredibly important it is to live each moment of your life as though this is the last moment to show your love for those important to you. Even though we do, we really shouldn't take another day for granted. I think we spin metaphors, parrot cliches and sometimes hide behind walls of our own erection - anything and everything do we do to put as much distance between ourselves and death as is possible.
The one thing we should be doing, most of us aren't.
We should be living each day unconcerned with possessions, money, status, gossip, intrigue, looks, sex, judgment, anger, pride, self, self, self. We should be living each day in joy and thankfulness that the sun has risen on another gift. A chance to put self aside and live life like something other than a chore.
Of course, we know all this already. But somehow come the morning sun we forget what truly matters and it's 'business all over again as usual'.
Okay, I keep saying we but what I'm really saying is ME. I do this. Too easily I can become entirely self-focused and any previously held good intention goes flying out the window.
And you know what's funny? We (me) are all so damn busy trying to judge the world, change each other, thinking constantly about how anything outside ourselves affects us, getting petty with our neighbors who don't mow their lawn to suit us, condemning politicians for their indiscretions, ... the list of things that don't matter one iota goes on forever.
I'm always so stupidly busy critiquing everything and everybody else in the world that I keep forgetting that the only soul I need to critique is my own, and any change worth making first has to start with me.
So this evening I've been thinking [ouch]. There are just a very few people whom I love with my every breath, and of those people there are none more beloved than my children.
So why don't I do more to show these people, and especially my children, how much they mean to me? Beyond saying the words, or an occasional gift, or whathaveyou. Don't get me wrong, I'm a good mother. Some say a VERY good mother.
But I could do far more to express my love.
And it occurs to me that there are countless beautiful ways to let someone know they are loved: flowers picked on a sunny day, a fresh cake on the doorstep, skills shared and passed down, an unexpected letter sent the old fashioned way with a stamp, and so forth.
Something else I've noticed, and thought about this evening. How much crap we buy, keep, hang on to. I've been to so many estate sales and it's usually a sobering affair to see a lifetime of dusty collections - sitting forlorn and worthless. You really CAN'T take it with you, you know.
While there may be a temporary satisfaction with these endless streams of material nonsense we burden ourselves (and the next generation) with, how much better off would people be if they collected less high-end baskets or limited edition figurines and instead spent that money on loved ones, or even strangers, who could have benefited from the help?
And if I come across as meaning we should never do/buy/collect/save anything for our self, that's not what I'm really saying.
The point I am just now truly realizing is how much excess we keep shoveling down our hungry gullets, trying to fill a void that cannot ever be filled with ... stuff. It's like nothing is ever enough.
So here I am with another birthday on the horizon. I'll be 54 this year and, believe me when I say this, I cannot believe I'm this old. And while 54 may not be a huge deal for most folks, it's pretty epic for me when out of my 16 other siblings more than half have suffered unexpected fatal heart attacks before 45, or required bypass surgery. I'm thinking it's close to 75%. Definitely a wee genetic issue with the ol' heart, it seems.
Sooooooooo ... [still thinking out loud here] ... maybe I shouldn't be taking too many sunrises for granted. Maybe I had better start ASAP to work towards being the person I want to be - which is more loving and less self-focused.
And even if I am blessed (hopefully) with 30 more wonderful years ahead of me, if I start making each day count a little bit more, then what a beautiful testament to a life well lived it will be when I'm going on 84.
I hope this doesn't sound too cheesy, because I really mean it. Life should never be a chore, nor something we take for granted.
Life should be an expression of giving, sharing. Of thanks.
I love you, Dorothy. Until we meet again ...