Dispatches from a go-gettin journalist. Because not all Army wives live behind the lines...

Sunday, May 6, 2012

On Death and Dying

Last year I lost a dear friend to an uncurable form of cancer. She was in her mid-20s.

There is so much I didn't know about her while she was alive and knowing now has made me love her even more. I didn't know that she kept a blog about her journey through her diagnosis. Last night, I found the blog and read every single entry.

This made me think about how much I think I might know about my friends and family, but that I really don't. And that I should try even harder.

I've been thinking alot about death and dying lately. As a journalist that's alot of what we see and report. It doesn't help that Superman is now dawning the Blue and each newsroom owns a dreaded police scanner. Every call for backup, every "man down," I hear. In some ways, they've all become a superman to me. So Superman is not thousands of miles away. Sometimes the danger is just a few towns over.

It's made me paranoid I think. But I tell people all the time that this has been an ongoing fear pre-Blue. In fact, we had a not-so-average wedding planning experience. While we were choosing between roses and peonies, silk and chiffon, we were also filling out life insurance policies and writing a Will. That's because we thought Superman was shipping out after the wedding.

It took us back to what was important.

Now, if I let my thoughts get the better of me, I start to spin. When Superman stays late at work and I wake up to find he's not here, I think, what's the hold up. No phone call, no text, did I miss that knock at the door, I should've stayed awake, why didn't I jot that emergency number down, there's no recovering, I will never marry, the sun will never shine, pray, pray, pray.

Many times during her dying days, it seemed like my friend did the same. Woulda, shoulda, coulda. But she really did something about it. I can't say it all because the list of the miraculous things she did to make the world right before she left us would go on forever . But I'll share one insight she offered that resonates.   Only when things go wrong, or when we're at our most vulnerable do we realize what is truly important. But what if we could keep that state during the highs and lows? I mean, what if we could pray at times when we didn't have to ask for something.

I want to live my life so that I don't have to fill out life insurance policies and Wills to realize that floral purchasing decisions are not the end of the world. Things that matter. Things that don't.

That is my resolution to keep.

"And when trouble touches man, he calls Us lying down and sitting down and standing up: then when We remove his 'trouble, he passes on as if he never called Us at the time of any trouble touching him; Thus it has been made fair seeming to the extravagance of  their deeds." [Surat Yunus, Ayah 12]

~Miss you, friend. You are always in the deepest most sincere part of my heart ~

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