Thursday, April 22, 2010

Dealing with Life...and Death

I haven’t blogged as regularly for the past few weeks or baked as much, partly because I haven’t felt like it and partly because I haven’t had time. We lost my uncle a week and a half ago and it’s been difficult to get “back to normal”. Whatever normal really is.

Whenever death hits our family, I’m both angry and resentful that the rest of the world still goes on. People still go to work, TV shows still run, the radio DJs are still cheerful as they yak away, stores are still open, traffic is still bad during commute hours, and on and on. I feel like I need to come to a standstill if no one else will and just mourn. I mourn not only for myself in losing my uncle but I mourn for my mom who lost a brother, my cousin who lost a father, my aunt who lost a husband and everyone else who lost a great presence in their lives. It seems wrong and even almost frivolous to just go forward as if nothing ever happened. He meant something to all of us and that should be acknowledged. And it is. We had a very touching and dignified military funeral for him complete with Navy officers in dress whites and his casket draped in the US flag. We say prayers daily, each in our own way and through our own beliefs.

But I’ve also come to realize that doing those things isn’t the only way to honor and remember my uncle. It’s also in how we remember him, what positive influences we take from him and how we reflect that influence in our own lives. It isn’t about coming to a standstill, however much we want to. That’s not what he stood for nor is it what he would wish for us. Yes, life relentlessly moves on, even when death seems to make you want to come to a halt. Our part in it is to take that gift of life that we still have and to do the best we can with it. Each person we meet touches our lives in some way. If we’re fortunate, they touch it for the better. It’s our job and our tribute to deceased loved ones not to waste their influence on us or fritter away our own remaining time. That’s how they remain infinite and forever with us. Because we celebrate their lives in the way that we live our own.

This is a picture of my uncle at his college graduation, 45 years ago.

No comments:

Post a Comment