Posts Tagged ‘death’

When someone dies

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

deathWhenever someone I know dies, like most,  I am saddened by the fact that I will never get to see or talk with them again. I also find that for days I can’t help but find myself thinking about my own death and how it will affect the people I know.

The human race generally doesn’t handle dying very well. We are all scared of it and even more scared to talk about it. No one knows quite the right way to talk to someone who is dying . We don’t know the right things to say as we fear that we will say something and it will invoke tears from that person. We walk on egg shells around them and weigh carefully the words we choose. After all, most of us feel that we can’t talk about anything fun or something in the future. Death is awkward and although it very well is, we should dive head first into it  and make sure we tell that person just how much they are loved and will be missed.

I think I realize now why I have been so scared of dying. At first I thought I would miss everyone but then after thinking about it, I ‘m dead so how can I miss anything. Then I thought about all I would leave behind and the things I could no longer do and then again I realized that all those things that I have been doing my whole life has been nothing but repetition. I wake, dress, eat , work, play, shower and sleep. I laugh, cry , hate and love. I collect things, way too many things, all of which are just for material pleasure. But its all just repetition everyday until we get ill or die. Nothing so different. And then it hit me. I fear that I will not leave my mark here on earth. I fear that my life would pass and no one would notice. Wouldn’t it be great to have been Abraham Lincoln. He lives on in almost every Americans life. He’s touched millions of people. His life meant something.

When people die its sad that the world doesn’t stop for one moment to recognize the loss. Life goes on like nothing happens. But then, as I always do, I think about it and when I do, I see that we all do matter. Maybe not on such a grand scale as Lincoln but to the few loved ones in our lives we leave our mark. They will remember our laughter, and sorrow, the good times and bad. The pictures of us will remind them who we were and what we meant to them. Songs will play and bring tears to our eyes in remembrance of a moment we shared when that song played.

I have lost a handful of people in my life that left a mark on me. Some of whom I never got the chance to tell just what they meant to me, but others who I was able to spend enough time with in the end to tell them just how much they touched and shaped my life. If there is one thing that I would hope for when I am dying, is that the people I know would come to me not in pity but to rejoice my life and what it meant to them. I need to know that my life meant something. That I was put here for a reason and that its okay to die because this world was a better place because of me.

I once read a book named “Tuesdays with Morrie”. For anyone who has ever read its inspirational words, you know just how remarkable Morrie was. For those who haven’t, it is about one mans dying wish to tell the world or whoever would listen, how he felt about love, life, friends, and especially dying. Stricken with ALS and doomed to a slow deliberating death, Morrie chose to allow the world to watch as his body fails him more and more until finally he passes. The story however shows us not to fear death but to make each moment until the end mean something. Share your feelings with loved ones. Tell them how you felt your whole life and what your life meant to you and how they helped shape the person you became.

I once wrote a letter to a dying friend. I didn’t know how to tell her what I wanted to and then she became too sick to have visitors but her daughter told me she would make sure that she received my words. I wanted her to know that her life meant something to me. That I appreciated all the things we shared over the years and how I was thankful for the way she treated me. That she was a friend that I would truly miss but would remember for the rest of my life. I wanted her to know that spending time with her made me a better person than I would have been if we never met. I wanted to make sure that she knew before she passed, how much she touched my life.

Just recently our family lost a very close friend. I didn’t know him as well as my sister did for she was who introduced him to our family some 25 years ago. However, over the last year or so I often sat one on one with him and talked politics, sports, business and such but one thing stood out more than anything else and it was the reason I cared so much for him. He spoke of my sister and how much he loved her and how important she was to him. How he would do anything for her because she was a special woman and he recognized how hard she worked for her children, husband and how little she asked for in return. His dying hurt my sister badly but I am sure that in his last days they spent meaningful time together and hopefully shared how much they meant to each other. Truly the way it should be.

Dying should not scare loved ones away. It should be embraced as a time for closure and celebration of that persons life, for after they pass, it will be too late to share those feelings together.

Just one man’s opinion

The Regular Guy

 

 

The Greatest Story ever told

Monday, December 13th, 2010

The Bible is the greatest story ever told.

When I was young enough and not able to express my own feelings about religion and church, my parents made it their personal agenda to see to it that I was brought up a good Catholic and that I attend church every week. Back then and now in hindsight it was probably not the right way to go about introducing me to religion. Forcing me to attend church just made me resent going even more.

Now, as an adult, I have my own feelings about my religion and beliefs, even though I still have a mother who every once in awhile lays the guilt trip on me about my lack of attending church regularly. That standing, I have always been fascinated about my Christan background and its roots beginning with God, Adam and Jesus Christ.

Being that we are now in the Christmas season, it is hard not to think about Christ and what he means to Catholics and Christians everywhere. With all the hoop-a-lah and shopping, the real reason for this holiday gets lost in marketing for new I Pads, phones and the latest electronics that our kids can’t live without

All of my adult life I have always believed in religion and had hoped that what I had been taught really happened, but being an adult I also questioned how incredible it would have to be if it were in fact all true. I know that as a Christian I am not supposed to question my faith but how can any person not think that it might possibly be just “the greatest story ever told”.

Just thinking about it all and how it was passed down for centuries almost seems like an impossibility that one story could live on for that long and not be based on truth and real events. It seems to me that people who believe without question are more at peace with their lives than those who don’t. There must be something to it.

Although I have always questioned my faith, I have always wanted to believe. When people would ask the silly question about one person I would like share a conversation with, I always chose Christ, even though I think I would turn to a sobbing ball of mush in his presence due to the awe of it all. It just seems to me that this life we have must be for some bigger reason than the stress and craziness we live with day to day. To believe strongly that someday we will be in a better place, would make this life easier to get through.

And so in closing, I think its probably better to believe and find that in the end there is no afterlife, than it is to not believe and find that there is a judgment day and I failed the test. So as the good Catholic that my parents raised, I should say that this year, I hope you  remember to keep the Christ in Christmas…God Bless!

Easy to Grasp, Hard to Employ

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

A friend of mine sent me this one day and I saved it to read over and over again when I get lost in thought of where my life is leading to. It grounds me some and makes me remember what is important in my life and what I should be doing to enjoy it!!

Thanks Vic!

From: Vic
Sent: Wednesday, June 10, 2009 8:09 AM
To: robert
Subject: Your Greatest Risk

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Your Greatest Risk
by Alexander Green

Dear Reader,

Ask someone what he or she wants out of life and you’re likely to hear a familiar litany: a great job, a loving family, a nice home, a comfortable retirement and so on.

But what are you living for? Of all the things you might pursue in life, which is the most valuable?

“Most people have trouble naming this goal,” writes William B. Irvine, Professor of Philosophy at Wright State University. “They know what they want minute by minute or even decade by decade during their life, but they have never paused to consider their grand goal in living. It is perhaps understandable that they haven’t. Our culture doesn’t encourage people to think about such things; indeed, it provides them with an endless stream of distractions so they won’t ever have to. But a grand goal in living is the first component of a philosophy of life. This means that if you lack a grand goal in living, you lack a coherent philosophy of life.”

There was a time when great thinkers sought to answer these questions. But no longer.

Modern philosophy has evolved into a specialized academic discipline that pursues arcane questions of no real interest to the general public. When was the last time you read or heard anything from a living philosopher?

Yet the ancient Greek and Romans obsessed over these questions. They strove to learn what was most important and how to achieve it. In sum, they wanted to discover how best to live.

Their answers evolved into stoicism, a philosophy that is not widely understood today.

The word stoic is used to describe someone unmoved by joy or grief, someone without passion. Yet that is not the stoic philosophy.

Stoicism is about pursuing a life that is both meaningful and fulfilling. It’s about healing the inevitable suffering in life – and achieving tranquility.

How is this done? Ancient stoic philosophers advised:

* Contemplating the transitory nature of the world around you

* Living in the present without fear of the future

* Banishing negative emotions

* Living according to your own nature

* Pursuing virtue

* Seeking courage and wisdom

* Living simply and frugally

* Mastering desire, to the extent that it is possible to do so

Sounds simple enough. But that’s deceptive, really. These tenets require work.

Living in the present without fear of the future, for instance, may seem impossible when we consider all the sad and tragic news that surrounds us.

Yet the stoic philosopher Epictetus reminds us that most worldly events are beyond our control. What disturbs our minds then is not the events themselves but merely our judgments about them.

And we can change these.

After all, there is little you can do to stop nuclear proliferation, global warming, the specter of terrorism, or The Great Recession. Yes, you can speak your mind, cast your vote, organize.

But worry? That solves nothing.

Likewise, the stoic advice to live simply and frugally could have saved millions of Americans who overreached a ton of heartache in recent years.

Limiting your material desires and craving for luxury enables you to save and invest more of your after-tax income. Paradoxically, the shortest route to financial freedom is to fight the acquisitive instinct and the desire to appear wealthy.

Too many imagine that if they just earn enough they can finally fulfill – and ultimately eliminate – their desires.

Yet nothing ever does. New desires spring up to take the place of old ones.

Recognize this and at least you can make honest choices in your life.

This point was made more than two thousand years ago in a well-known dialogue between Alexander the Great and the Greek philosopher
Diogenes:

Alexander: Diogenes, you are a man of great repute. Yet you spend your days untroubled, unperturbed, indulging in conversation and the pleasures of life.

Diogenes: Tell me what is so much better about the life of Alexander the Great?

Alexander: I am a conqueror of nations!

Diogenes: So, conqueror of nations, what are you going to do next?

Alexander: I will conquer Greece!

Diogenes: Yes… then what?

Alexander: I will conquer Asia Minor!

Diogenes: Alright… then what?

Alexander: I will conquer the rest of the world!

Diogenes: And then?

Alexander: Then… I plan to relax and enjoy life.

Diogenes: So why not relax and enjoy it now?

He must have made an impression. The great conqueror once remarked, “Were I not Alexander, I would be Diogenes.”

Diogenes lived according to his own nature, caring little for reputation, luxury or material possessions. Few would subscribe to his brand of extreme asceticism. But at least he had philosophy of life – and lived it.

Most of us never take the time to consider our grand goal. Instead, we choose society’s default position: the pursuit of affluence, social status and pleasure.

The problem with doing what everyone else is doing, however, is that you may mislive.

Instead of pursuing and enjoying what matters most, you could wake up one day to find that confusion and distraction have caused you to squander your one precious life.

And who really wants to take that risk?

Carpe Diem,

Alex

Life really is short….

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

Today was supposed to be a day of friends and riding motorcycles. Planned for just a week or so and anxious to get one of the last good days for riding in, we all met on time and were ready to roll. Today, as it turned out, was the saddest day of my life.

People are always saying how short life is. How your here one day and gone the next. How many times have we heard this and how many times do you really pay attention or understand  what that means. Today I found out exactly what it means….

The day started out great. The weather was just what we expected, cool and clear and lots of sunshine. The eight of us met early and started out for Frenchtown NJ, which is a scenic ride along the Delaware River. Everything was going fine, and then it happened.

From my mirror I could see the motorcycle handlebars shaking back and forth and the bike veering out of control. The next thing I remember is a cloud of dust and the bike crashing into the guardrail. It was all, as they say, surreal. I remember screaming “Oh my God, he’s going to crash” or maybe I was thinking it. I can’t remember the details because it seemed like ten minutes in the making but only seconds in reality. A chill came over me instantly and instinct took over. I remember looking again in my mirror to see that the person behind me was aware that I was stopping my bike. Everything happens so fast and yet it seems as though you are watching it through someone else’s eyes.

I was the second person to reach him. My Uncle was the first. We stood there in disbelief that this was happening but remained as calm as possible and checked to see if he had a pulse. His body laid there limp and lifeless, one leg over the guardrail and one twisted under his body. He wasn’t bleeding except for the small amount that exited his mouth with his last breath.

I will never be able to explain how this feels. I have played it over and over in my head for what seems to be a hundred times. My eyes began to tear up as I stood there and waited for the Police and EMT’s. My Uncle came to me and hugged me. I am crying now as I write this.

This man, who I and most of the six other guys, just met today, had died before our eyes. Five minutes earlier we shared words at a gas station and now he was gone. As I stood there over him, I couldn’t help but think how it could have been any one of us that this happened to. I also felt some relief that it wasn’t because I don’t know how I could have kept it together if it had been. I thought about how his family would feel when they learned that he wouldn’t be coming home. How life was taken from him in an instant and he never got the chance to say  good bye to the people he cared about. How he died in front of seven guys he hardly knew but whose lives would be forever changed because of it.

We were all so shaken up, some including me, more than others but as the day progressed it was very evident that we had all been changed by this. The sight replays over and over in my mind and the thoughts of how ” he was here five minutes earlier” makes it harder to comprehend. It is now clear to me what that phrase means. The impact from witnessing it makes me understand just how fast life can be taken away from a person. Even though I was there I feel as if I had just watched a movie and that it couldn’t have happened. We don’t know what happened to him but we all believe that he had a heart attack or stroke and died before his bike crashed. The way in which his bike traveled and with no skid marks, we could only surmise that he was unconscious when he lost control. Looking back on it all, it was probably the best thing that he was because he didn’t feel a thing.

I didn’t know him at all and maybe in some way it is better that I didn’t, but I do feel a need  to say goodbye to him. I will make the effort to be at his funeral so I can do just that. I am not a religious person although I do believe in God and Jesus Christ so tonight I will pray for him and his family.

After witnessing this, I understand how precious life is and just how fast it can be taken away. I hope that I can take something positive from this experience and make the best of the life I have. I hope that this image stays with me for life so that I am reminded everyday how lucky I am to have made it this far. And lastly I hope that he didn’t die for nothing but that everyone who was there today realizes just how short life really is…….

Charlie’s Angel no more…

Monday, July 6th, 2009

I hope that I am not coming off as being callous but why couldn’t Michael Jackson pass on one week later? Maybe if Michael had died a different week, Farrah Fawcett’s death would have gotten more attention.

I can’t remember just when it was that I began to like Farrah Fawcett. It definitely wasn’t during her short stint on Charlies Angel’s. And believe it or not, it wasn’t from owning that poster of hers, because I didn’t have a copy. I think it might have been when she turned fifty. A friend of mine bought me a copy of her Playboy video for my birthday. What a guy huh? Yeah that’s probably when I began to like Farrah Fawcett.

I know I sound just like a guy because I chose that moment in time, being it was Playboy and all, but something struck me about her that hadn’t before. She seemed real to me. Not like Pamela Lee Anderson, who was always so fake looking. Farrah just had something about her that made you think she was just a regular woman. The only other celebrity woman I can remember thinking the same way about was Cindy Crawford.

Even though that video was very corny and she came off as whiny and a little ditsy at times, she did seem to be real. Getting past her good looks you could see why so many people admired and followed her career. She definitely came off as a down to earth woman and someone who you could probably approach and hold a conversation with.

When I first heard that Farrah was sick with incurable Cancer, I was really taken back by it. After seeing her television special about her battle with the disease, I felt even worse. I don’t know what the connection is with Farrah but her life left a mark on mine.

The reason I said what I did about Micheal Jackson earlier, was because his death overshadowed Farrahs and she never got the attention that she deserved. After showing us just how horrible Cancer is and how she fought valiantly to the end, she deserved more in death. Maybe this sounds a little strange because after reading this I thought so too, but it seems like everything that happened to Michael Jackson he brought on himself. Farrah just happened to catch a bad break and in death had to take a back seat to a talented yet freakish superstar.

Maybe others out there will read this and agree with me. Maybe in some strange way Farrah affected them in a way they can’t explain either.Maybe this is just my way of recognizing Farrah’s life and death, and what she meant to me…..