Tuesday, February 7, 2012

On Death and Dying

I've had a lot of things that reminded me of my own mortality lately.

Namely this horrid ear/sinus infection.

Despite feelling as if I was dying, my doctor assured me that while one day I may, but this wasn't the day.

I've always had an unusual relationship with Death. I've been both horrified and enthralled by it. To say I fear it, at times is an understatement, while at others, I think, "it's gotta be better than here."

And funerals...

I've always wanted a "standing room only" funeral. You know, where you stand in line for hours, waiting to speak to my loved ones. Maybe to share how I had touched your life.

My uncle Fred's funeral was like that. I don't recall being really all that sad, because if there was a man on this earth who I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt was in Heaven, Fred was that man. To hear of all the lives he had touched, over his 70 years here on earth, was extremely uplifting and made me envy the fact that he was already "home."

I used to pester my friends with questions like, "If I died, would you come to my funeral? Would you be sad if I died? Would you miss me after I was gone?" Weird huh? I don't ask anymore. It makes me sound a little disturbed. But those questions remain.

I guess I was just looking for validation that my life had mattered.
That I had meant something to someone.
That my life meant so much, that I'd be missed.

My friend Brad died right out of high school, as did my friend JoDeann.

Brad was a hellavua jock: he was a great pitcher, an avid hunter and fisherman. For all his rugged qualities, he could also be tender and sweet. He was always there for me when what ever guy I was dating was a jerk. He'd listen, advise, and let me cry on his shoulder. He had even told me that one guy had been cheating on me and that I deserved better. He asked if I wanted him to beat this guy up, because he would. That was the kind of guy he was. The day he died left a deep, painful scar on my heart. He died on Leap Day, a day that only comes around once every four years. On his birthday, I put flowers on his grave, just as I have every year for the past 25 years. Two roses, one red and one yellow.

JoDeann was an equally as talented sportswoman: she could play anything (and usually did) and my childhood is filled with memories of climbing trees, riding bicycles, building forts. Nearly every picture of me or my brother, from when I was 11 to beyond graduation, had her in it. When she died, I felt like I'd lost a little sister.

Not a day goes by that I don't miss them both terribly. And I think that I see them out in public. You know how that is. A car, just like theirs goes by, or you see someone with the same build, same hair color, same style or mannerism. I have to remind myself they are gone. (Which is pretty funny. Me standing there with my eyes closed saying "Brad's Dead, Brad's Dead, Brad's Dead..." over and over again.)

I hope I will be missed like this one day.

1 comment:

The Gold Digger said...

I will be ticked if nobody comes to my funeral. And none of this "celebration" stuff, either. I want deep mourning. Deep.