2014 ushers a new season into my life, in more ways than one. What I have refrained from talking about till recently is a shift that has happened in my social life – that I am now attending more funerals and wake services than weddings and baby showers. And there is nothing more sobering than these life events to remind us of the fragility of life and the strength in relationship.
Seeing people passing on from this world, especially those you wish would just stay for a little longer always bring the ‘why’ question. Why do my loved ones have to be struck by <name of chronic illness>? Why do they have to suffer the tyranny of sickness, the indignity of dependence, the torture of pain? Why do I have to watch them slowly waste away before my eyes, helpless and yet continue to want to trust that God has the best laid plans and that all things work for those who love Him? During life and death situations, it takes more than head knowledge to get us through, really. Because, our loss is real; the hole in our hearts, the gap in our lives when a loved one exits brings a pain that feels like it will never go away. We can only learn to tune out to it.
Sometimes, it is really hard; when you watch a loved one clings on to this world due to unfinished business, unresolved matters. Sometimes resolution and reconciliation is made during these last moments, bringing peace and a new-found readiness to meet our maker. Sometimes, the wait is futile and one simply lose the fight to death filled with regrets. This is painful to watch, because, if letting go is possible, it would have been done so long ago. Impossible to let go, but instead of doing something about it, we continue to allow these matters to fester in our hearts. We no doubt have our own reasons. On our death bed, would we change our mind?
As someone who has some more time in this world, though not sure for how long more, I am mindful not to leave too many matters unresolved, particularly matters that are close to my heart. I learnt as I observe my elders, that the older I get, the harder it is to revisit past wounds, and if there is anything I can do for myself now is to minimize the impact of hurt and wound by removing reasons for these wounds and hurt to fester and impact my future negatively. Let me try to solve today’s problems and resolve today’s conflict, today.
In the end, this really isn’t about dying; it is about living. How I am going to die, i.e. whether or not I am able to look Death in the eye, depends very much on how I live. And if I truly desire to leave with peace, then I need to be honest about how at peace I am right now, and do something about it.
Why did I title this post Wishing you well? This is my prayer to all, that when it is our turn to bid this world farewell, we can all leave with peace, without regret, leaving behind a life well lived and many beautiful memories cherished by all who love us and seek to remember us even long after we are gone. The fragility of life defeated by the strength of relationships.