Monday, January 05, 2009

Aunt Lisa

Death is never easy. At least not for those left behind.

In my life I have experienced sudden death with my father who had a fatal heart attack at age 43, a slow painful death with my Grandma Lucy who did not know who we were and who seemed to be sick for years, to my cousin who was murdered by her husband to even a very close relative committing suicide.

All are awful. I hate them all.

At least when it takes a while you have time to say goodbye. Although watching a loved one suffer is awful.

There are no words to describe the anger and flood of emotions that occur with both murder and suicide. Both leave you with your jaw on the floor and your eyes full of tears. Sorrow, fear, guilt, anger, grief, confusion, and so many more feelings are constantly tumbling around in your head. Both of these were the most terrible things I have ever had to experience with Suicide being the absolute worst.

Dying suddenly is how I wish to go. Although this may be the way I want, I am sure it not the way my family would like it. Sudden death is hard because it is so unexpected.

My aunt who was 62 died on December 21st. It was so out of no where that an autopsy was ordered and still, no cause of death has been found. I hurt for my uncle who was planning to retire soon. I hurt for my cousins who lost their mom. I hurt for my cousin’s kids who lost their grandma. I hurt because I loved my Aunt and will miss her.

Tonight is the rosary and viewing with the funeral tomorrow.

I know many tears will be shed in the next two days. My resolution this year is simple, and that is to choose to be happy all the time. So as I cry I am going to remember all the good stuff about Aunt Lisa, her sassy attitude, spending the night over at their house so my cousin and I could box each other (My uncle Carl and my dad would love to watch us duke it out in the living room. Guess who busted out the ninja moves), and all the times we got together for celebrations.

Life is short and we don’t know how long we have.

Choose to be happy despite all the tears. There is always something positive and happy to hold onto.


tmana said...

I think being happy all the time is neither realistic, nor is it fair either to you or to those around you. Like a diet with only one option, it palls quickly and the effect of its favor cheapens.

I would say a better way to want to feel is blessed. We are blessed with family and friends, blessed with places to live, blessed with medical knowledge and technology that keeps us alive. We are even -- if we disallow self-pity enough to see it -- blessed with travails, that we may know the heights of success, and that we may minister to others, pass that blessing onto them, and -- in the passing -- be doubly blessed.

I have learned that each of our challenges in life prepares us to minister to someone else, sometime later. So, even when I cannot "see the light at the end of the tunnel", I have faith that it is there. I have faith that each challenge I have been sent teaches me and shapes me in ways that will be needed some time in my future.

And I know that you have faith. Even from a purely existential analysis -- your faith shows in your actions, your choice of activities, the joy you take in your children's accomplishments.

While it is not easy to keep that faith and that feeling of blessedness when money is running out and you're wondering where you're going to sleep or how you're going to survive, knowing that this, too, will pass "when waiting is filled" (to quote Heinlein) -- and fighting your way through the darkness -- strengthens us in flesh and in spirit. We pass through the crucible so that we may emerge the hero in the next chapter of our personal hero tales... so that we may be the angels that The Holy One, Blessed be He, sends to others in need... so that we may become closer to the ideal for which we were Designed.

Blessed be He who hast sent us trials to strengthen us, His Presence to uphold us, the gifts of the earth, and the gifts of ministry. Praise the L-rd Who has sent us these many gifts, and Who leadeth us to walk in His Path. May He Who maketh peace in the High Heavens grant peace to us and to all Mankind. And may we be blessed to walk in His Path all the days of our lives.

Lee Ann Thill said...

My sympathy and thoughts are with you and your family, George.

Nikki said...

I am so sorry George...

George said...

tmana - I think what you said is what I meant to say. You are just much better at expressing yourself then I am. I do not expect to be happy always but I do think I can always look for the blessing, the silver lining, the thing that makes me say, "I understand." I am going to read and re-read your comment. Thank you so much.

Lee Ann - thank you so much Lee Ann, that means a lot to me.

Allison said...

My thoughts and prayers to you and your family. Big humongous hugs are being sent your way.

floreksa said...

Thoughts and prayers with you and your family.

Scott K. Johnson said...

Death is hard.

This may seem out of place, but I think you'll get me on it: tmana is the shiznit!

Sandy said...

I'm sorry for your loss, George. It does suck. My dad also died at 44...sudden heart attack. Gone. No goodbyes, no I love you' explanation. Just gone.


Penny said...

I'm sorry George.

Caro said...

I'm a little late with this comment, but I've been thinking of you and your family.

Bernard said...


I'm sorry to hear about your aunt. God bless you and all your family.

Lea said...

George, I'm so sorry to hear of your Aunt's passing- it's wonderful that you have those happy memories.