Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Just One More Heartbeat

This past week I was made aware three times of the presence of death, and how near it can be. First was the death of the father of a friend of mine. My friend's father had lived a full life, had been blessed by children and grandchildren who loved him. He made a graceful exit from this earth, surrounded by the people he loved. In a perfect world, that is how it should be, even though it is still difficult on the loved ones left behind. I think a person is fortunate if they can have a good life and a dignified death. That in itself is a blessing.

The second awareness of the presence of death was the lovely Natasha Richardson. That is a death that should not have happened. She was in the full bloom of life, with a husband, two children, a full life with so much to look forward to, and so much yet to give. A death like that doesn't make any sense to me. It simply should not have happened.

The third awareness I had of death was the child of a friend of mine. My friend's child was born with a congenital heart defect, and had not been expected to live past the age of two. He lived to be almost five, and his parents consider the extra three years they had with him a blessing. That's a death that should not have happened either. But when you really think about it, most deaths seem senseless. It's such an arbitrary thing. One day you're enjoying yourself on the ski slopes, the next day you're gone. Every day you leave your home in the morning, put the keys in the ignition of your car and pull out of the driveway, well, that could be your last. Somewhere in the backs of our minds, that nagging thought is always there.

What if...

"It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live." ... Marcus Aurelius Antoninus

It's very true. We can only live our day to day lives as best we can. We work, we play, we sleep, we interact with other people. But do we appreciate that one day it will all be gone? Do we value the minutes and hours that have been given to us as the ultimate gift? I think most of us just take it all for granted -- until we see how capricious it is and how quickly it can all be taken away.

I do some of my best thinking in the shower (don't we all?) and the other day I was thinking about some of the people I have loved whom I have lost, and at the same time I thought about some of the people I have lost who have loved me. These are the things we should never take for granted. We should leap out of bed every day and welcome the new day -- one more beautiful day to savor everything in life. It can all be taken away in a heartbeat.

26 comments:

Lover of Life said...

Well said. Something on my mind lately, as well.

Firefly said...

What you say is true. You shpould life each day as if it is your last. Unfortunately we don't and we only realise it when something happens to remind us of it.

tinkerbell the bipolar faery said...

Death does not discriminate. Each second is a gift.

Autumn Twig said...

i've had to deal with this so many times now that i think it has left permanent marks on my life.

and yet, it is inevitable, only but the next step.

momcat said...

Natasha's death shocked me too especially after such a seemingly small accident. Life is fragile and we should check ourselves if we find ourselves becoming impatient with our loved ones.

BeNC said...

Only people who experience loss which revolves around us feel this way.

Jo, I share how you feel.

Let's cherish every second gifted to us from now on.

greenpanda said...

Oh dear. That's awful. When someone that young dies, it is terrible. Recently its just been the 1-year anniversary of a young girl who died at my school. Although I didnt know her, its still the most awful thing to see her friends upset and quiet. We should savor our life.

CTVicky said...

I love this post. I'm also very shocked and saddened to hear of Natasha Richardson's death. She was lovely.

A. K. said...

Great post!

willow said...

Yes, carpe diem!

I do my best thinking in the shower, too. Maybe it's the hot water warming up my brain?

Judi said...

Nothing in the cry
of cicadas suggest they
are about to die.
--Matsuo Basho

I saw the above in another thoughtful post about Richardson at A Tidings of Magpies. Positive thoughts go out to the Richardson family, who have given so much of themselves for our pleasure.

URL: http://tidingsofmagpies.blogspot.com/2009/03/she-will-make-face-of-heaven-so-fine.html

Carla said...

Well said. (as usual) This is something I think about a lot also. Not only have I lost most of my relatives...including my parents and oldest sister...but now I'm losing friends and classmates. Makes me feel sad, old...and lucky to still be here!

Nicole said...

Everytime I hear of a death like this (senseless) I think it's such a waste. How can something so seemingly simple end in in death? These are the ones that stick with me.

Paula Slade said...

I'm not sure who originally coined this phrase but I believe it is a melding of several quotes and it always comes to mind at times like these. (I heard it shortly after 9/11 and have remembered it since.) "The clock is running. Make the most of today. Time waits for no man. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That's why it is called the present."

Kathy's Klothesline said...

You read my mind.......

brightestblue said...

I think its hard to enjoy and savor every single moment, because some moments plain suck. But every experience provides a learning opportunity and that should not be taken for granted.:)

Maureen said...

I too am sad about Natasha Richardson; I saw her in Streetcar Named Desire and she was magnificent, in spite of John C. Reilly being unbearably bad as Stanley. Thank you for mentioning her, I wanted to bring her up in my blog as well, but couldn't figure out how to work it in.

introspection said...

Jo, your post is beautiful in the sense that it deals with all life's important matters, in a simple way. Natasha's death and a 5 year old child's death are truly senseless. These type of deaths remind us not to take life for granted.
You said it right, that a person is lucky if they have a good life and a dignified death. That in itself is a blessing indeed.
It's sad times; my prayers go for the loved ones of the family of all 3 members who died recently.

Mclndesm said...

I too feel so badly for the Richardson/Neesom/Redgrave Family. I have a friend who died in a very similar manner. I have fallen skiing more times than I can count and was able to keep on going. The ski patrol did a stellar job with her but evidently it was her time to leave this earth. It is those who are now left behind that have to struggle now with the loss and grief (especially her two young boys who are now motherless).A past interview of hers was played on the news today and she spoke of how she cherishes each day when she wakes up (this came after her husband had been in a severe motorcycle accident years ago) She was grateful for each day since she knew what could be. It warmed my heart to know that she so loved her life so as brief as it was.

DUTA said...

Death is so final, so absolute.

I leave home with a prayer asking to come back safely, and come back with a prayer thanking the Divine Power for fulfilling my wish. I'm not religious, just a person aware of our volatility.

Andrea said...

In my family, we believe that good things, or bad things, come in threes. It's time for a break!

Country Girl said...

My dear friend's father died recently too. The funeral was last Friday. He passed away surrounded by loved ones, after a long illness that was a roller coaster of a ride being well then sick . . . but Natasha Richardson was a shock. So sad. As is the death of your friend's child, Jo. So sorry to hear of this.
Where there is life, there is death.

Ruth D~ said...

Funny--or perhaps it's not--but I've been thinking of a post along these lines. The dividing line.

Sarah Berthume said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jo said...

Thank you, everyone, for your wonderful comments. Gosh, I wish there were 48 hours in a day, so I had the time to visit all of you. But just when when you least expect it -- expect to see me. *heh*

Cheers!

Kym said...

It is tragic to lose anyone, but even more so to lose someone when you least expect it. I feel for the family of Miss Natasha and I reflect on what my family and I went through some 19 years ago when we suddenly lost my 20 year old brother. The grief and pain that followed for so many years and the thoughts that you should always cherish one another....Grief is a hard road to walk down....