Thoughts on Death

X 8.1.14

I love life. I really love being alive and experiencing new things, old things. Exciting things, comforting things. Funny things. Edible things.

I love life, and I can’t imagine anything I hate more than cancer. A friend of mine lost a battle with cancer this week. She was my age. We met in middle school and I was instantly drawn to her positive, exuberant personality. Plus, she was the first person I’d met who had the same name as my sister. At 11 years old, that’s a big deal.  Over the years, we drifted apart, as middle school friends do. But, we kept track of each other via the magic of Facebook. And it was through Facebook that a mutual friend kept everyone posted about the daily progress of this too-young lady. How blessed to be surrounded by friends in times of need.

Like me, my friend who passed away has two children. It’s so damn unfair. And so damn senseless. I won’t post her name here, because it’s not my story to share. But, if you have the heart to donate some money toward her children, please click here and send a private condolence. To respect her family’s privacy, please only click if you intend to donate.

Cancer is also spreading inside my grandfather, whom I wrote about a few weeks back. There are other serious health complications, and the doctor has told us to make final preparations. I had the honor and good fortune of visiting him in the hospital today. I say good fortune, because we don’t always get a chance to talk with our loved ones so close to the end. And I felt honored by the words he shared with me.

My grandpa was asleep when I arrived, so I spent some time talking with my father about the prognosis. Following that, he was awake for most of my visit, cracking jokes, and talking about family and Jesus. I’ve never known anyone with such a strong faith. I had a few moments alone with him to tell him how much I appreciate him being there for me since birth. And we prayed together. First silently. Then the Nicene Creed. He told me my boys are beautiful, and he told me he loved me.

My uncles are coming in from out of town to join my parents and grandma. It fills my heart to know that a man who has given so much to his country, his family, and his God, is surrounded by love at this late hour. I am certain that when we eventually weep, it won’t be for my grandpa, but for our own loss. He has truly lived a wonderful life, and he has left us a legacy of love.

Thank you to Phil Mengell for sharing this Streetlight Manifesto song with me today. It’s about losing and paying tribute to a friend. Not a band I knew anything about before catching the end of their set in Quebec this summer. They actually played this one, according to setlist.fm. Curious.

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