On Life and Death

When I have been sad about my mom’s cancer, or the illness or death of another loved one, my husband has told me “well, people get sick and die all the time,” or “there’s nothing we can do,” and after a short pause has gone back to talking about his own life.  And the strange part is that he isn’t an uncaring or a selfish person at all; he is the type of guy who, if he sees that you need anything, he’s right there to help, and he’d give you his shirt even if it’s the last one he had.

What he says is true; life and health are fragile, and people die all the time, and horrible things happen, and even worse, people do horrible things to each other.

But still, for all the fragility of life, for the most part people in my world live to old age and go to peaceful deaths.  As to why the universe wrenches that privilege away from some and not others–well, if only we knew.

To those caregivers who have dealt with the illness and death of a loved one, what can I say?

I hope that having seen the suffering you have seen makes you value life more; that you take the time to squeeze sunshine out of each day that maybe you didn’t before.  That you care for yourself and have regular checkups, which so many people do not.  That you realize that ultimately traffic jams, and annoying people at work, and the small things, don’t matter.


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