Thursday, March 31, 2011

Death creates a different perspective on life

One of my friend's father died today at age 69. 

This is too young to die for anyone, but it hit me very hard because her father is only two years older than my husband, and this is the second friend's father to pass away young.  The other passed away at 72.  Both passed away in their sleep, a day after seeming fine. And I think the reason this death really hit me hard is that there was a military burial, with full 21 gun salute, the honor guard, the ceremonial folding of the American flag, and its presentation to the widow.

I had a flash of me in this same situation.  My husband served in Vietnam as a Green Beret, and on his death will be afforded full military honors; I will be the one receiving this flag.  I had been dry eyed through the rest of the funeral, but this got to me, and I almost lost it when "taps" were played.  I felt like I had been gut-punched, and grabbed onto my husband's arm for comfort. Life suddenly seemed much too short.

Now, I know no one knows what the future holds, but when someone you know dies, it definitely pulls your perspective into a very different focus.  Things that seemed so important, like work goals, financial goals, will I buy a bigger house, better car, more clothes, more (you fill in the blank) become inconsequential.
Because all we have is right now.  Tomorrow is not promised to us, and yesterday is already gone.  In fact as you read this life is moving into yesterday.  I could be the first to die, even though I am younger.

And I thought to myself, have I done all the things I want to do in this lifetime with my husband?  And the answer is no.  So once again I come back to a theme I have explored in past blogs, and that is that you must live in the NOW, that now is all we have, and you need to make every moment count.  

We were going to put off a 2 week camping trip to Yellowstone because of time constraints; I wasn't sure if I should take that much time off from my business.  As if I were the sole reason the business ran.  Quite frankly the day-to-day running of my business falls to my very capable assistant.  I'm the rainmaker, bringing in new business; but she keeps the space running.  And if my business (or your job) is going to fall apart because you take time for yourself, in my opinion it's time to look for either another business or another job.

So he and I had been going round and round on this issue, wondering if we 'should' take time to do this.  We've only been talking about this trip off and on for, oh, 10 years.  It's not like it's something new.  It's something we've been postponing.

And why?  Really, in the end, why do we postpone the things that mean so much to us, and spend time on the things that just fill time, that in the end don't mean anything?  Is it habit? Fear? Laziness? Or is it, as I have stated before, "just is".  It just is. 

So I have decided that we are going to take that vacation.  And we're going to see the beauty of America's first National Park. We are going to take time on what is important to us, which is travel and spending time with one another.  Because I don't have a crystal ball, and I don't know when all the sand is going to run out of either of our hourglasses.  And I don't want to live my life regretting that I didn't take 2 weeks to live life with my husband.

Why take time for life, for love, for family?  Because 'taps' is going to play for all of us, much too soon.

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