Mourn a death or celebrate a life?
10/10/10 is a day that will be etched into my mind forever.
I need to set the stage here. In May of 2010, my mother had a fall. As my brother was trying to help my Dad with Mom, Dad had a stroke. Mom and Dad ended up on opposite sides of the hospital on the same floor for weeks. Just one day before Mom was to return home from rehab, she had a heart attack. They did emergency surgery and after three weeks in a coma, we had to let her go.
Fast forward three months and my son, on the tenth day of the tenth month of the tenth year of this century lost his battle with cancer as my grandmother celebrated her 90th birthday.
We lost grandma just a few weeks ago, barely three years after my mother and son.
Do you mourn a death or celebrate a life?
It’s very natural to mourn. We have experienced a great loss that leaves a void in our lives. Filling that void takes some time. I would no longer be able to call Mom when I was watching a stupid movie only to find out she too was waiting for the movie to get better, until it was over. My son would no longer be teasing his siblings and making us all laugh with his antics.
We miss them every day but life will go on. My wife describes it best. There is a place in our hearts where we keep them near us. Every now and then, we feel the pain. We let it out and feel our loss and then we put it away for another day because we know they would be angry if we let the loss consume us and take us away from our granddaughter, our three other children and the rest of our families.
There is no “getting over” the loss of a child. It’s never easy but we expect to eventually lose our parents. You need to get through it in order to move on. That’s when you make the choice to celebrate a life.
Today is a day to celebrate. My son had almost 24 years in this world and my grandmother almost 93. We still have three wonderful children and a beautiful granddaughter to share life with.
There is a choice to make. Get stuck in that dark place of grief and continue to mourn our loss or make a decision to get up and dust ourselves off and get on with life. Today, I choose to celebrate the lives of my son and my grand mother. Our lives were enriched and great lessons were taught by both.
My son fought for two years to make sure his daughter had a chance to know him. He spent his last few months working to ensure his daughter would have some great memories of her father. The picture to the left was taken as he recovered from having a lung removed. That bought him another year.
God bless the mother of his child who, although they didn’t make it as a couple, she remained his friend and co-parent. She worked with my son in that last few months to take my granddaughter on what adventures they could. Visits to the CN Tower etc. She has been amazing and continues to make sure our granddaughter stays in touch with us and the family.
My son is one of my greatest heroes. He showed courage and strength when others might have just given up. He put his daughter’s needs ahead of his own and worked to ensure there would be lasting memories so that she would never doubt that her father loved her.
My grandmother was a woman who led by example. When my grandfather went to war, she went to work in the grocery stores cutting meat to put food on the table. In later years, she became a vice president of the union. She too, worked to make sure she left a great legacy and she succeeded.
I remember hours playing Canasta as we were selling paintings and I remember travelling to union conventions where it became very evident that she was highly thought of. Yet another of the great heroes in my life.
Do you mourn death or celebrate life?
The answer is…both!
Take the time to mourn death. We need that time to heal so that we can continue.
Once you have faced all of the feelings that will flood over you, get back up and celebrate life.
Celebrate the lives of the ones lost so that their memories can become moments that warm your heart and give you the energy to go and create your own legacy. Let them be models for you.
Most of all, celebrate your own life. Even the trials because each trial teaches you something that will lead to making a great life. In my case, I choose today, to celebrate two people who enriched my life. Each has taught me to appreciate each new day and make the best of it.
What will you choose?
Make it a great day,
P.S. What am I thankful for today? I’m thankful my younger son is coming home from out west to visit. I’m thankful we are picking my granddaughter up tonight for a couple of days and will meet her new sister. I’m thankful for the best life partner, my wife, who has been an angel at my side whenever I face a life challenge.
What are you thankful for today?