Posts Tagged ‘death’

Cemetary

Within the last week, I lost someone dear to me: my great aunt.  It was sudden and unexpected.  We all assumed that despite her being in her early 70’s, she was in good health and doing great.  Also, her father–my great grandfather–will be turning 94 this month, and he is still pretty spry and healthy.  Death certainly seemed far away.

Losing a loved one is difficult.  However, when it sneaks up and steals life suddenly it is even harder.  We are left wondering why and how we couldn’t see it coming,  It is a disconcerting feeling to know that life can be carefree one day and then stolen away the next–all without a warning.

My first reaction was shock.  I needed to know why and how.  I wanted to try to make sense of it all.  However, I noticed that even though everyone else felt the same grief, they didn’t all share my need for answers.  As soon as I expressed those questions, I was met with a dumbfounded response: “But she was old…”  I could hear the implied continuation of that sentence.  But she was old…it was bound to happen eventually.  But she was old…it’s the natural progression of things.

The more I see death the more I realize there is nothing ‘natural’ about it.  It may be the fate of everyone on this earth.  But it’s not ‘natural’–not in the least bit.  Every iota of my being has always told me that death is NOT how it should be.  It isn’t what should be our fate.  Death causes pain, sorrow, separation, devastation, depression, and a myriad of other negative side effects.  Even when an evil person dies we cannot say that that death can have a wonderful effect on this world.  We may be protected from suffering more evil at the hands of this person, but all the best things in life can’t directly come from the end of human life.  So how could something so negative be considered the natural end?

We are meant for so much better.  We are designed for a higher purpose than to simply live and then die.  That is why no matter how old a person is when they pass away I can never shrug it off as normal or simply the natural end to life.  Death is an unwelcome interruption.  It takes us away from family, love, helping others, making a difference, laughter, and joy.  It creates a rift that cannot be healed…at least for now.  It causes wounds and sorrow that usually can’t be healed in this life.

Death reminds me that God didn’t design us to die.  He created us for immortality–to live a joyful and blessed life always.  When we try to accept death as normal and natural, we risk forgetting that.  Death should always be a reminder that this life is temporary.  Death should instill in us the urgency to make the most of our lives.  Life is so fleeting.  It can be gone in an instant, and then we must stand before God to account for how we used our time.

I know I’m not perfect.  In fact, I’m the exact opposite.  I’m horribly flawed.  I can be selfish, rude, and inconsiderate.  I make mistakes and excuses.  And I’m still ashamed of some of the things I’ve done in the past, even though I’ve found forgiveness and tried to grow as an individual.

Still, I want to leave this life behind with as little regrets as possible.  I want to die knowing I did my best and helped leave something good behind.  I want to be so much more than my wrongdoing and mistakes when I take my final breath.  I want to be able to honestly tell God that although I failed so many times, I always got back up and tried to do better.  I want to start the next life knowing that this life was NOT in vain or wasted.

© 2013 Amanda R. Dollak

Sudden Storm

I love my family. They mean the world to me. However, sometimes I don’t understand them. I try my best to understand their beliefs and perspectives. I listen to their reasoning. I carefully consider their arguments. But occasionally, I simply can’t understand them. I can’t wrap my head around their logic, so it doesn’t make sense in my mind. In the end, I’m left shaking my head in bewilderment and loving them through it all.

One topic that some of my relatives and I don’t agree on is dreams. These relatives can be pretty superstitious, and they are full of information about the omens in life and dreams. As a little girl, they inadvertently had me convinced that if I died in one of my dreams, I’d die in the real world, too. I overheard them talking about this idea one day, and I was terrified!

Imagine my surprise the first time I died in a dream and I woke up unscathed. At first, I thought that perhaps I had been lucky and that I could still die if it happened again. Well, I am here to testify that I have died a thousand deaths and I’m still breathing. It’s a glorious feeling!

These death dreams aren’t fun. They freak me out. They startle me awake in the middle of the night or too early in the morning. And they have caused a few sleepless nights because I was too unnerved to fall asleep again so soon. Still, I’ve learned to live with them and now even figured out how to use them to my advantage.

You may be wondering how nightmares could come in handy. They are fertile ground for story ideas, of course! The intensity, the raw emotion, the suspense, and the vividness–they are all perfect for story writing. So, in a sense, I die a little more each night, so I can breathe life into my characters. For a short time, I live through their experiences, feel the turmoil inside of them, and then face life’s greatest unknown right there with them. I get to know them intimately, and I never forget them as I immortalize them in a story. I have to say that this almost makes me wish for more nightmares…almost!