Life (and Death)
Life and death go together. You cannot have death without life. And in life you know, that death will follow. Believers know that this life here on earth is temporary. And that after we die, we will find eternal life. Maybe it is a bit of a sad thing to talk about or write about it, but it is something that is going on in my life and thoughts. Already for a few weeks and it needs to come out.
A Rough Time.
The year is not over yet. It is only the end of August 2021. But in my mind, it is like it is a more difficult or rough time than it was in 2020. Okay in 2020 we also had the pandemic of COVID-19 but somehow I have the feeling that 2021 is harder.
As I mentioned, it is past the halfway mark of 2021, but in those 8 months, 5 people who I know had died. And not only because of the COVID-19.
First, a nephew of my wife died. A bit unexpected. Not because he was sick for a while or had COVID-19 but if I was right, he had brain damage and after some time in a coma in the hospital in The Philippines, he passed away. I had met him a few times when we were in The Philippines. A very nice and very helpful person. Always there for anyone who needed help.
Then on March 3, a date we will never forget. Because it is my wedding anniversary date. My mother passed away because she was infected by COVID-19. This was very hard for me. I couldn’t be on her side in those last moments. I am part of the high-risk group and it would be too dangerous for me to be there. Within 1 week, she passed away.
After that, a niece of mine passed away because of cancer. She was already suffering from cancer for some time, but now and then she would feel good again and I think there also was a short time that it was gone. In the end, it had come back again. Stronger and more aggressive than before.
June 7 or 8, I got the news that the son of an old neighbor had died. He had committed suicide. Very sad. What I have heard, he was always there for so many people. But somehow, there was something in his life, that he could not handle anymore, and thought that this was the only way out. This is very hard for the people that are left behind. I know the mother and now and then I have contact with the brother, but still it is a shock when you hear this. After receiving his funeral card, I found out that he would celebrate his birthday on June 11. Just a few days after he took his life. He would have turned 47.
On August 10, I got a text message from my niece in England, that her sister, had passed away on August 8. Due to cancer. It was only 6 weeks before she passed away, she had visited the doctor because she had some pain. Two weeks later she got the bad news that she had cancer. It was already spread so bad, that they could not do anything. Within 4 weeks she passed away.
After hearing that, you start to think about it. Is this now the time in your life, that every few months you will receive the news that someone has passed away? Is this the time in your life, that slowly people around you will die?
After this thought has passed, you calm down and start thinking about it. I am still “young”. At this moment I am just 55 years old. My mind is telling me, that you need to be much older before you reach the period in your life that people around you start falling away. It is just something that is part of life. People die because of different reasons. Health problems, or an accident. Not just because of old age. It is hard, but you need to learn to accept that death is part of life. It can be a depressing thought but you need to stay realistic.
All this news, made me think again about when my mother passed away. It is still hard and for sure, it will be something you will never get over.
It also made me think about the time I spend the three months in the hospital and the 2 times hemorrhage I had. This was also a difficult and tricky time. I think it was just after the second hemorrhage, that the doctors in the hospital were talking about a special operation. The plan was to transport me to a different hospital to undergo a brain operation. The problem was that there was pressure building up in my brain. To release that pressure, they would have to open the skull. If they would not do that, it would damage the brain even more. But for some reason, the pressure went down and it was not needed to do that operation.
If I think back on it, I can praise myself to be lucky. The damage that I had sustained was that I lost a small part of my vision and that my brain is not so fast/quick as before. Sometimes it will take a while before the penny drops. A lot of people that had a hemorrhage are more seriously damaged. Sometimes partly paralyzed.
And after the hemorrhage hearing that you need to have heart surgery. Then after that hearing that you need a pacemaker because your heart cannot get up to speed.
Then 5 years after that, hearing that you have heart failure. You need to have a pacemaker upgrade and that the pacemaker will have a built-in “shock machine” to get your heart started in case it will stop. At the same time, also discovering that the life span of people with heart failure is 4-5 years. Just to find out after that, that because of the current technology and medication, the life span is extended much more.
Trying To Stay Positive.
After my mother passed away, there was not a real closure for me. There will never be full closure, but maybe slowly I could give it a place.
Just after hearing the news that my niece passed away, I got the phone call that we could pick up the ashes of my mother. It had been almost 5 months since. 5 Months of hoping that they would release her ashes soon and that I maybe could have some peace of mind.
Everyone had got a small momentum with the ashes of my mother. Maybe it sounds strange, but for me, it is something like “She is home and a small part of her is with me.”
Someone on FB made the comment that I like. He said, “Love ones that passed away still live on in the hearts of the people who loved them.” He also said, “Despite all the setbacks and your physical problems try to keep your head up. And look at the blessings you still have.”
This is so true. I should be happy that I am still alive, that all the other people I love, are still around me, and that I should praise and thank our Lord that I am still part of this world. And that I can share my stories with others.
Life and death go hand in hand. There is no death if there is no life. Life and death are part of our life. There is no way we can avoid death.
Death is a sad thing but it is something we need to learn to accept. And for me, this is hard. But I think it is not only hard for me. It is hard for everyone.
As Christian believers, we know that life here on earth is temporary. Only after we die, we could have eternal life.
For me, it feels good that I got this out of my system and wrote about it. Don’t get me wrong, it is still hard to get over, but at least for me right now, I have a little bit of peace in my mind.
It also made me realize that we need to be thankful for the life we have. Maybe it is short and sometimes difficult, but we need to be thankful to the Lord for giving us this life. All the events that are happing in our lives are a preparation for the things to come. What those things are, we don’t know. Only when we had to go through it, we could maybe find it out.
As the comment on FB already said, ” Despite all the setbacks and your physical problems try to keep your head up. And look at the blessings you still have.” I will try to keep this in mind in difficult times and I hope that you will do the same.
As always, please take care and stay safe.
This post can also be found on Medium.