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Life On The Other Side Of Loss
A journalist questioned me once whether perhaps I thought about death a little too often. And I must say it's understandable how her perspective became so. Because central to much of my writing, and thus the book she was interviewing me on, is the common theme of just how precious and precarious our days truly are. The proverbial "straw" for the reporter, prompting her impromptu rhetorical question, was my declaration of the song I wanted to be able to be played at my funeral… "My Way" by Frank Sinatra.
There was a time I likely would have had a similar impression about someone who freely wrote and spoke about that most unsettling of topics… There was a time…
I've come to the realization that there are three types of people in this world… First, there's the relatively small group of unfortunate and disconnected souls who'll live out their respective days, never experiencing the feeling of truly loving or having been loved. Second, there's the group who, based on life experiences, have come to only too intimately comprehend the heart-wrenching agony and pain so aptly referred to as heartache - those who know what it is to helplessly endure the debilitating grief and sorrow of a loved one's life unceremoniously extinguished, merely at Death's whim. And finally, there's the group of fortunate souls (still shielded by the wondrous bliss of ignorance) - who've yet to have that inevitable life-altering, devastating event that will cause them to, without a doubt, truly comprehend.
I sort of remember that state of bliss. But then again, I too sort of remember the feel of my Mom hugging me. Suffice it to say, no more wondrous bliss for me…
It would take years for me to recover… for me to finally regain my constitutional and spiritual footing - and to begin to again look forward to the possibilities of each new day. And by the time I eventually managed to find myself, the me I found was simply not the same. I'd only been able to helplessly cry and pray in the mere seconds it took for the earthly presence I'd always known as my loving mother to be rendered essentially a lifeless shell. And no matter what happened from then, or how much time should pass, for good or bad, the me that managed to survive couldn't possibly ever be the same.
However, bliss-less as the new me was destined to be, there is positive insight to be found in this most personal of cautionary tales. You see, beyond all of the disillusionment, despair, disdain, regret, apathy, dejection, anger, sorrow and heartache, some perspective altering fundamental truths would eventually come to light;
As a result, for as much as it is foretold that innocence was traded for wisdom in the Garden of Eden, so too for me would a carefree, almost utopian view of life never again be known. Now, that's not to say that I had no problems to speak of before my mother's passing… To that point however, my perspective was pretty consistent with a quote I've seen along the way that suggests the following - 'Rule #1: Don't sweat the small stuff. Rule #2: All stuff is small.' Thus, my attitude was with enough positive attitude, thought and perseverance virtually anything was surmountable.
Now, firsthand I know that Rule #2 was, and continues to be, flawed. Because, you see, the people we love the most can, and will, be taken away one day - and in some cases without as much as a warning. And cry and pray as you and I might, the simple truth is, when the situation is most dire, there will be virtually nothing we directly can do. And believe me when I tell you there is absolutely nothing small and not to sweat about that!
What I now know is that the time we have is un-promised - and therefore it's key we remember it's both extremely precious and fleeting. Every minute spent is yet another minute gone forever. Which makes how we choose to spend that time, who we choose to spend it with and what we choose to do in that time incredibly relevant… And appreciating that time, appreciating the loved ones we spend it with and sharing with them the fact that we do - too becomes critically important. Especially once you realize that, at any time, that amazing privilege can be abruptly taken away. It is a truth all too familiar to that second group. A reality that became mine as I helplessly witnessed the life dissipate from my mother's soon to be lifeless body… A reality I have owned and carried with me every since…
It is that reality that both inspires and motivates me to take pen to paper. It is that reality that has evolved into my life's purpose - driving me to challenge those who would be inspired to;
So, if you, much like the reporter mentioned earlier, happen to be part of the third group, having thus far been fortunate enough not to appreciate why heartache is so named… Know that for the time being, you remain blissfully blessed. Enjoy that wondrous feeling, your time and the loved ones you are fortunate enough to spend it with for everything they're worth - remembering to be thankful and appreciative every waking moment.
If you instead like myself, having forfeited innocence, you find yourself a permanent fixture in the second group… Know that you were blessed to have that loved one in your life for the time they were - and that no time, even what you were blessed with, was ever really promised. Know that it is faith that can, and will, pull you through. Know that your loved one would not only want you to cherish their memory - but also to cherish your life… acquiring true happiness and fulfillment wherever it is to be found. Cherish also your remaining time and the remaining loved ones you're fortunate enough to spend it with for everything they're worth - remembering to be thankful and appreciative every waking moment.
And finally, if you happen to be a member of the first group mentioned, stop it - today! One thing is for certain, that is absolutely no way to spend your otherwise amazingly blessed and precious fleeting days.
When it's all said and done, I have to believe my Mom continues to look down on me and, for the positive things I do - beam with pride. And because you've taken the time today… to read this and be impacted… I'm sure my Mom's pride continues to grow. And for that additional solace and inspiration, I am eternally grateful.
I now know that from the deepest of sorrows and the darkest of nights the greatest hope, purpose and fulfillment can grow. And because of that, I know that I am forever changed.
"And now… the end is near
I've lived a life that's full
Regrets, I've had a few
I planned each charted course
To think… I did all that
words to live by... from D Anthony,
Need help dealing with the loss of a loved one, a healthy dose of motivation or perhaps an invaluable source of daily perspective - which fosters a mindset helping you to create a brighter day? Click here to learn about D Anthony's uniquely motivational and inspirational book, "The Nurse in the Delivery Room Slapped Me... Once: Stories and Perspectives to Help You Unlock Your Amazing Potential"
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