Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Mourning After

"There's nothing fair about who lives and who dies". This was a great line from a terrible movie when Kurt Russell's character uttered it in the horrible remake of the Poseidon Adventure. But, the line has resonated with me ever since. I find myself repeating it every time I or someone I care about loses someone close to them. There's nothing fair about who lives and who dies. I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I sometimes look at my family and am amazed by how many we've lost. I mean, gosh, I'm only in my early 40's and I think I've been to more family funerals then wedding in the past 20 years. I'm not kidding. I sometimes think I've had it hard or bad and get all "why me (us)"??? But then, as I listen to other people's losses I realize quite simply there is nothing fair about who lives and who dies. We are born with the inevitability that we are all going to die and how we cope with it determines how we live our lives

There is nothing harder to cope with then loss of a loved one. It is however the way we cope with loss that defines who we are. When you lose someone you hear it all. "I'm sorry for your loss", "they're in a better place", "their suffering is over" and the like. People who love us tell us this to make us feel better about our loss. In my humble opinion, it doesn't help. However, knowing people care about you and how you're feeling does help. You cry, you mourn, you cry some more, you feel sorry for yourself, you go through the period of overwhelming guilt, and you cry some more. Then its time to move along

I'm not being cold, hard, or callous but simply put you need to get on with life. Those with an inability to do so end up end up spending the rest of their lives amongst the dead instead of the living. In fact, I'd think it the ultimate disrespect for the person you lost if they knew you were structuring your days around missing them. The best way to honor the dead is to go on living. It's a fine line between mourning and remorse but everyone deals with loss differently. You need to let go of the guilt often associated with death of a close one that is sometimes known as survivors remorse. Even in those rare cases when someone feels it was their fault, at the end of the day you have no control over the grand scheme of who lives and who dies. The bottom line is there is NOTHING fair about who lives and who dies but the living must go on with their lives

I'm not the same person I was before living through so many losses. I know this. I think part of me is better through loss. I like to think I've taken something from everyone I've lost and bettered myself with it. The literal negative into a positive. In the end life is tenuous at best and all of us will have our number come up some day, hopefully later then sooner. It's what we do with the time we have on earth that truly makes life worth living. So, no, there is nothing fair about who lives and who dies but it is our ability to cope with these devastating losses that make us who we are to our family and friends.

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