Life is Precious – Let me Tell You Why

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This post is about anticipatory vs sudden death. I know that doesn’t sound like a very positive post in honor of my sixty-seventh birthday, but this subject matter weighed on my heart the other day so I decided to write about it.

The last time I saw my mother was the 3rd week of August 1994. She died one month later. Mom and Dad visited their adult children during the month of August: my brother and I in the Seattle, WA area, and my sister in Northern California. What a gift that was – the impact of that gift not fully appreciated until Mom was taken from us during her sleep on September 24, 1994 – a life-changing shock to my father who found her, an occasion for us kids to receive the worst news possible by telephone.

The last time I saw my father was October 13, 2007 at his bedside as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease leeched the life from him. When my father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s four years earlier, we knew there was no cure; we had time to prepare for the inevitable, an inevitability accelerated by a cancer that was not operable due to my father’s frail condition resultant from the slow deterioration of his body by Alzheimer’s disease.

Which death was more difficult, the fully unexpected one, or the expected one?

There is no comparison, and by that I mean you cannot compare grief in that manner. Grief is grief and although the shock of my mother’s death was a jolt to our emotional systems, so too was the slow death that occurred for my father. The outcome was the same: someone we all loved no longer existed, but more importantly, we became painfully aware that whether a person is seventy-seven years old when they die, as was our mother, or eighty-nine years old as was my father, life is short.

The child who succumbs to an illness, the teenager killed in an automobile accident, the newly married sweethearts starting out on their journey as a couple, the sixty-something-year-old or centenarian whose days come to an end, all those lives are valuable and their ending won’t always be anticipated.

It may be trite to say live each day as though it were your last, but trite or not, that’s what each of us needs to do. I do so without being morbid about it – rather, I have gotten into the habit of living and loving fully, always respecting and honoring those with whom I come in contact, and spreading kindness and truth wherever I go. Because, as I’ve said: life is precious.

Won’t you join me?

4 thoughts on “Life is Precious – Let me Tell You Why

    Jill Weatherholt said:
    May 18, 2020 at 12:05 pm

    I’ll certainly be next in line behind you…better yet, beside you. Death doesn’t check ID to see if you’re old enough. Life is a precious gift and I feel sorry for those we don’t realize it until it’s too late. On a brighter note, wishing you the happiest birthday ever! This will be a special year as you welcome a new grandchild…so much to look forward to. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

      Irene Olson responded:
      May 18, 2020 at 12:26 pm

      So glad we’ll be side by side appreciating the gift life offers us.

      Liked by 1 person

    Luanne said:
    May 18, 2020 at 7:32 am

    Happy birthday, Irene. I’m sorry you’re feeling a lot of grief at this time. My father’s death was dragged out and even denied by the medical community for while. Both my in-laws though died suddenly. It was good that my father and I had time to prepare because he spent a lot of time telling me important things and apologizing. We were stunned and shocked when my in-laws died. That was worse for those left behind but my father’s death was terrible for him.

    Liked by 1 person

      Irene Olson responded:
      May 18, 2020 at 7:44 am

      Thank you, Luanne. For me, the comparison of both circumstances simply put an impression upon my heart and I felt the need to discuss both, so others’ personal experiences might be addressed. Sometimes I’ve heard it said about someone whose death mirrored my father’s, “At least you had time to prepare.” There could be no preparation thorough enough to effectively live without him.

      Liked by 1 person

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