I recently returned from another funeral, that of a sister-in-law who I seldom got to actually spend any time with although my wife, being her sister, had a much stronger bond than I.
This is the second family funeral we have attended in a short period of time. Her husband passed on almost a year to the date. Neither one, to our knowledge had any form of fatal sickness or disease that we know about and seemed healthy and happy each time we saw them.
Naturally when things like this happen you begin thinking about your own mortality and others that you have lost over the years. Somehow I want to blame our Creator for not doing a very good job in this area. I have seen just too many people pass on that I would frankly like to have still around to talk to. Of course there are always some who I kind of think I may not miss quite as much.
I remember as a child when all of my parent’s friends began to pass on that I came to realize that in a few years an entire generation will be gone.
Now I find myself in a similar generation and can’t help but frequently look back on the good old days, and they were good! Some people gain solace by being convinced by various religious folk that our time here on earth is just a temporary stop along the way and that eventually we will get to meet up with all those who’ve gone before us. Wouldn’t I love to believe that? I have found perhaps the next best thing.
I have several grandchildren who use me as a punching bag, target for all of their barbs witticisms, and just about anything they can do to get my attention. I love it. I truly truly hope that they will reach a time in their lives when they will look back and remember all the fun days they had with Papa. Just knowing and hoping this makes the thought of dying much easier.
To this day, I constantly look back on my wonderful parents and siblings and how wonderful it was when we all got together for the various holidays or celebrations. They are all gone now.
To me. what is more important is that I wish I could get this message out to the many people who feel that dying for a cause is well worthwhile. I don’t see dying as a benefit to anyone and my philosophy is and always has been to extract as much enjoyment as we can of each day that we are still here on earth.
Sometimes that is hard to do but on occasion a simple smile or a friendly word from someone makes life seem all that worthwhile. With this philosophy I could possibly put a lot of rabbis, priests, ministers and imams out of business but I think there are some things left that they can do without waiting for a hereafter.
There are some new items that have been added to the cycle that require quite a bit of adjusting to. No doubt most of us are living a lot longer than our predecessors and as a result experience problems is that most of them never had. A prime example is this horrible Alzheimer’s disease. I recently had occasion to visit an elder relative, well into his nineties, who sat in a chair with a half smile on his face as we offered our greetings.
I honestly couldn’t tell whether anything we said or did was having any kind of impact but I also felt if there was any chance that he was cognizant but yet unable to express himself, I would not want to appear to ignore him. I’m sure there are many people out there facing the same dilemma.
The other thing that always troubles me is when younger people, who seem to have done nothing wrong in this world and in many cases do a great deal of good, suddenly develop various deadly diseases and pass away quite unexpectedly. Again the religious answer to all this is that the supreme being wanted them by his side even sooner.
As I said, I would love to be able to believe these things but I can’t.
My advice: Try to enjoy life and those around you as if this may be your or their last day and go to your final resting place being remembered as a good person.
Visit Ernie Sochin at www.sochin.com.