Death is a subject that most want to avoid as far as discussion is concerned. We all realize that one day our lives will cease to exist. It is the ever burning fire that exists in the back of our mind, and that is the transition that our souls make when it is our time to leave our Earthly bodies.
Last week, I experienced the passing of my Uncle. While I was never close to him, realizing that he was no longer living was indeed a difficult moment to behold for myself and my family. Seeing his body, in the casket as the funeral proceeded, caused me to think about many of the memories that I had with my Uncle.
Growing up, I remembered the times of laughter and various discussions that we had which were actually more so debates. However, aside of the memories fulfilled, I was also reminded as to just how precious life is. It seems that many do not truly value life, until they themselves are faced with death, whether directly or indirectly.
Seeing his lifeless body in the casket was unnerving, and yet I realized that it is the natural process of life. Basically, life is a cycle. There is the beginning stage of birth, then of course there is that of a maturing process which involves a small baby growing up through adolescence and even into adulthood. After one reaches adulthood, they begin to further transition into their elder years from middle age into senior status. After one moves into that stage, their bodies begin to revert back to a process which involves rapid decay, and eventual death.
This isn’t written to depress or cause you to focus on death, however I write this as an expression of how I began to feel as I saw the very occurrence of death with my own two eyes. Despite my own feelings of loss and that of my family, we all understood and understand that each of us must go through the process of death.
We start out with the gift of life, that only God gives. After we have had our moment or time to live, then our bodies finish the process by experiencing death. For many, death is a scary experience or topic to discuss. It signifies the ending of a life that most do not want to relinquish. However, death is only the ending point of our lives as we know them to be here on Earth. It is not the end of our journey.
What creates such a grim picture of death, is the sadness and feeling of loss that it brings. At my Uncle’s funeral, I began to feel a sense of fear in that I understood, that one day my parents will also pass on. While they are still able to function, and I am still able to spend time with them on a weekly basis, I recognize that they too will cease to live. However, the important thing to take from the transition of life to death, is that while you are living, you have an opportunity to leave a lasting legacy.
All of us leave something behind when we die. Whether it be positive or negative, we each pass something to those that come behind us. Your legacy can be determined by how you live right now, while there is still time. The other aspect of life and death is that memories are all that we have, as it relates to loved ones that we release from this life.
While the pain of losing a loved one can be excruciating and unfortunate, the memories (as long as they are good memories) will be in part what carries us through the time of bereavement. So, as we think about death, we shouldn’t focus on the grim part of it, but rather see the opportunity to celebrate a person’s life and the process that comes with our Earthly transition. For if we fail to understand the reality of death, we will always see our lives as ever going, without truly living as if it were our last day on Earth.