www.geoffmitchell.com

Another Perspective Adjustment

with one comment

I hope that my website does not end up painting a picture of a man obsessed with death. I think I’ve written more then once about it, but ultimately, the desire has always been to reflect on the preciousness of life… something I tend to easily lose sight of when I’m bombarded with diversions 24×7. Then something gets placed before me that makes me stop and remember that the time I’ve had and the moment before me are all I can count on. What I do with my thoughts and action between now and who-knows-when should be done with consciousness as to it’s relative importance.

This week, I’ve been made aware of the passing of an old friend’s sister, and the pending passing of somebody I’ve never met, who’s about to give birth to triplets that will never know her. Both of these are ones that have been medically known and expected. And both of these are cold slaps in the face, reminding me to focus on the more important things.

I used to think an expected death was good for the individual, and for those left behind. I’m not so sure any more. My wife’s father and step-father both passed away within months of each other many years ago. The sudden loss of her father was hard on family but probably easier on him. What about her step-father? His death was dragged out, a slow winding down, never knowing each time you saw him if it would be the last time. It was lingering and painful for everybody. My friend Jess’s mother in law went the same way. And those left behind suffer over time, suffer watching the other suffer. There’s pain for everybody.

I used to think I’d want advanced warning for my own inevitable passing, so I could “do and say the things I needed to” while I still could. Now, I’m starting to believe that a sudden pasing might actually be better for everybody, not just less painful for myself. but only if I leave nothing unsaid. That’s the catch here… I really do have to live each day like it’s my last. Well, that’s not realistic, because I’d not go to work or pay my taxes or fill the car with gas…. but on a broader level, regarding relationships, I think you get the picture. I have to do and say the things I need to, now, not later. At some point, there will not be a later.

It’s times like this, and awareness of these things, that put my frustrations into perspective. It’s hard to think about this and be bothered by a heated political discussion with family members. And when I learn, as I did today, that a 42 year old mother of triplets belonging to our ‘parents of multiples’ group has brain cancer and will be giving birth within the week, but not living long beyond that… somebody who’s has 42 surgeries over a 10 year span and who has refused treatment in order to protect her unborn children, I find it hard to let behavioral issues with my 3.5 year old son get me down. When I learn, as I did this week, that the sister of a friend recently passed away after years and years of knowing the tumor she had would result in this, leaving behind her son, already in the care of her remarried husband and his new wife, I can’t help but feel foolish for letting little things frustrate me, like a child not wanting to go to bed on schedule, or having to wriggle my fat ass through a narrow crawl space under a new house to patch a piece of duct, when they’re all things I expect I’d give anything for the chance to do again once there is no longer an option to.

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Written by gsm

03/02/2007 at 10:51 am

Posted in  Journal 

One Response

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  1. Wow. I guess whining about flying down to Disneyland to be surrounded by screaming cheerleaders and pounding hip-hop routines for two days pretty much sounds like what it is: whining.

    The other thing this does is give me pause to be thankful for what I have (…and to be even less patient when I have to stand in line: the single greatest non-productive use of our lifespan).

    Cheers,
    -Jon

    Jon Fuelleman

    03/02/2007 at 11:37 am


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