Posts Tagged ‘Death’

Funeral Arrangements

Letting Go

Letting Go

           A week that started with a night of camping to catch the Perseid Meteor Shower got progressively worst.  Thursday morning, I awoke to find my Dad lying on the bathroom floor.  I had no idea how long he had been there.  After much effort, it was clear I would not be able to lift him back on his feet.  Thank God, a fire station is located within our subdivision.  A brief chat with one of the firemen and minutes later they were at my home assisting me in getting my Dad back to bed.  It was his third fall in a matter of weeks.  There was no denying the reality of his illness.  It was time to do what I had been putting off for weeks.  It was time to make his funeral arrangements.  Luckily, I had already done my research and I chose a funeral home that had serviced my family in the past.  I retrieved the folder from my office desk and made the phone call.  Nina, our pre-need advisor was great and faxed me the contracts and within a matter of hours the arrangements were made.  I still had one more phone call to make.  It was to a local funeral home that would handle shipping my Dad back to our home town when the time came.  Anthony was great and explained the transport process and the items I needed to provide.  As I drove home, mixed emotions pulled me back and forth.  I was glad that everything had been finalized and grateful that I had the presence of mind to be proactive, but my heart was heavy because I knew the end was near.  I had several other appointments after my visit to the funeral home.  I knew I had to carry on as I will have to carry on in the days ahead.  Scripture tells us that God will not put more on us than we can bare and that His grace is sufficient.  I know one day I would look back on this time and marvel at my composure, but for now I must walk through the fire to reach the other side.

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Live Like You Are Dying

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          In recent years, I have had old friends lose a parent to a terminal illness like cancer or heart disease.  One friend in particular lost her mother only after losing her father a few years earlier.  The loss of one parent can be devastating, but the loss of two can be unimaginable especially when you are relatively young.  Plotting a course forward without their love and guidance can be difficult to say the least.  I know from my own personal experience with my father that a terminal diagnosis sneaks up on you when you are unprepared and leaves you spinning in circles and asking why?  The journey can be exhausting emotionally, mentally and physically.  I consider myself fortunate in that my father’s battle with cancer continues, but eventually it will win.  Being past the initial shock, surgery and rounds of chemotherapy, I can reflect more on what his cancer journey means to me.  As I care for my father and encourage him onward, I began to take a look at my own life.  I noticed that death and dying is not relegated to the old, but that young and old leave this world at the same rate.  The death of a young adult or even a child is particularly hard to bear because we think they had their whole lives ahead of them, but in reality no one is promised a long life.  With that I mind, I began to examine the habits of my own life and asked myself some tough questions.  If I were to die today would I feel like I had made the most of my life?  Am I wasting time and energy by harboring old grudges and hurts?  Is there a fence I need to mend?  Could I have been kinder to people or volunteered more?  What dreams have I long ago abandoned? I knew the answers and I knew what I had to do.  It started with forgiveness.  Forgiving others for what happened in the past and forgiving myself for not making the most of my time. For me forgiveness cleaned the slate.  It provided a new start that allowed me to shake away the past and move forward with my eye on the future.

When I looked back over my life I could see how I could have made better use of my time both personally and professionally and I committed myself to make a change.  I am a person of lists and of making plans and without them I am soon adrift with nothing to propel me forward.  Instead of a New Year’s Resolution, I decided to set goals and post in them in frequently visited places in my home like my office and bathroom. With setting goals, there needs to be an action plan for reaching those goals.  For the first time in my life, I made a daily plan where every hour of the day is assigned an activity.  Even beyond making a daily plan, it allowed me to identify what was important to me and the things I am passionate about and to make a concerted effort to incorporate those priorities and passions into my daily life.  In a year from now or five years from now I want to look back with no regrets having used my time wisely.  I want my investment of time to reflect what matters to me the most.  I will live each day like I am dying.