Hello Blogger Friends! What a gorgeous day here in High Point. Sunny, blue skies and warm weather, the birds are singing--I just love this time of year! Our high school graduation is tonight and my kids only have 4 more days left next week. I'm not sure who is more excited, me or them. No more school lunches to pack or buy for a whole summer!! Woot!
It seems I've been confronted with death quite a bit over the past few weeks. This, of course, always makes me think about what I'm doing with my life, which then turns into the "what do I really value" conversations with myself. First, we had the tragedy of losing two students at our school in that horrendous car wreck, then at work I watched a young boy grieve the untimely death of his very young mother. At that time, all I could think about was my own 11-year-old and how difficult it would be for him if that had been me lying on that gurney. I also (maybe because of this?) picked up the book Tuesdays with Morrie at a yardsale last week. We had watched the movie with the kids back in the fall. It's quite a touching book/movie; if you have never read it, I recommend you do so. I finished it this morning.
It is a true story about university professor Morrie Schwatz and his student-turned-professional-sports-writer Mitch Albom. Albom hasn't seen Morrie in the 20+ years since his college graduation, but hears about his imminent death by ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) and decides to go back to visit him. The book chronicles "the last class" with his old prof...the class about dying...and living.
As you can imagine, the subject of our fear of death is a topic that is touched on frequently in this little book. I have a million thoughts on that, but truly I think that mostly we fear the loneliness of losing people we love more than we fear death itself. We all know that death is inevitable, and I find that folks aren't as afraid to talk about it as one might think. I worked for several years on a unit in our hospital that catered to the needs of hospice patients. I've also worked in nursing homes and as a hospice volunteer. Consequently, I've watched quite a few people take their last breath. And overall, especially when it is a slow process, the families deal with the situation in good and noble ways...as do the patients themselves. As a nurse, I do have a problem with anyone dying alone. I think that's just so sad, although at times, it can't be helped. So several times I have been the only one in the room; and you know what, it's never been a "morbid" thing. It is always good to be able to reflect on those moments with the family when they arrive, breathless and frustrated at not being able to get there in time--to let them know that it was peaceful and that someone was holding their loved one's hand.
So why a blog on this? You tell me. What do you think about dying and what it has to teach us about the value of being alive? Really...I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject. And not to trivialize...but I may just touch on the cost of funerals in a future blog...so let me know your thoughts on that also!