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Death, Too Close An Acquaintance

A week ago today I had an automobile accident, which happened in a split second of distraction and peculiar circumstances. Since that event, I have found myself considering the events of Life and the attendant minister of Fate, Death. In the case of my accident, it was not really so bad, just a couple of banged-up cars and my air bag went off, but it shakes you up to go from normal to crisis in an instant. It reminds you that you never really know when it is your time, and it makes you sensitive to the loss of others.

This brings me to the topic. In my PMP cancer support group, two more of our members passed away this week, after long and difficult fights. We know a lot more about PMP and other rare cancers than we did just a year ago, but even so it is sometimes not enough, not in time, and all we can do is pray for solace for the families. In my office, one of my employees had a death in the family from a car accident, and another employee's mother had a heart attack last night. Out of nowhere comes the grief.

The news is full of similar stories. A child drowns in a swimming pool because a mother gets distracted for a couple minutes. A deputy constable writing a ticket gets hit by a man driving an SUV while talking on his cell phone and he never sees him. Sometimes we know the ones who leave; Lois Maxwell, "Miss Moneypenny" in so many of the James Bond movies, dies Sunday in London. Marcel Marceau, perhaps the most famous mime of all time, died Saturday in Paris. Dr. James Keegan, who founded the "End Hunger Network" in Houston, also died recently. But the roll call, even for a single day, is long with people who died too soon or too suddenly, or whose loved ones wish they still had them home with them.

I guess there's no profound point to this article, except maybe this one thing. Lately, I have seen a lot of anger and resentment, some very nasty sentiments and words used to convey disrespect and antipathy. I am by no means innocent of that conduct myself, and for that I apologize. I wonder, how many of us would choose such sharp words to throw at someone, if we somehow knew they would leave us soon and suddenly? Sure, in most cases we can say what we please and that person will be back tomorrow for more of the same and to give back as they get. But not always, and I wonder if we consider how little we really know, about what is to come, and those things which we really do not control at all.

Just something to think about, is all.


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Comments (19)

Having contemplated death m... (Below threshold)
Mycroft:

Having contemplated death myself (You do that lying in a hospital bed when the doctor pronouces the word cacner over you.) I find that my patience for stupidity is way less then it used to be. And I have done some things I always meat to do.

Well your reflecting is tru... (Below threshold)

Well your reflecting is true, we are not in control. Not for one single moment.

I just want to say, that as corny as it sounds, I am glad that you are part of Wizbang and that I enjoy your posts. So reflect on the fact that you are impacting, even to the stay home mom's in New Mexico.

I lost my 4 year old nephew... (Below threshold)

I lost my 4 year old nephew in a terrible accident four years ago, and I still mourn everything that I will miss about him. My father will be 80 this year and he is so smart and funny and loving that I can't imagine him passing on -- yet I know he will, and can go, at any time. So it just so happened that I bought a delicious Starbucks tall mocha a few months ago, and there on the cup was this:

"Life is a school for angels. Do your Homework without fear, for Love is the Teacher. Death is merely graduation."

The Bible says (paraphrasin... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

The Bible says (paraphrasing):

You will be held accountable for every idle word you speak. I assume writing counts as well.

If you call your brother "Raca" (possibly defined as "empty headed") you are in danger of the judgment of men. If you call your brother a fool you are in danger of damnation.

Sobering words to all.

As an aside to Frazetta_girl, mortals never become angels. Angels and men are two distinct beings. Scripture in fact says that angels long to be mortal and that redeemed mortals will judge angels.

Pithy sayings are nice, but I would invest in something more authoritative.

DJ...as always...a beautifu... (Below threshold)
JC:

DJ...as always...a beautiful post. I always look forward to your posts though they are rare these days. That is certainly understandable.

I read so many blogs...but I always come to Wizbang because I hope you might be there...you are sane and intelligent.

Each day when I walk...I pray for people. You are one of the ones I pray for...because I know that you give us so much to think about...we need you to live a long, long time.

jeffblogworthy:... (Below threshold)

jeffblogworthy:

You probably meant well, but your "scripture says blah-blah-blah" comment is sanctimonious and insensitive as it is being used to put down what helps someone (in this case Frazettea_girl) cope with the death of her 4-year old nephew. Not everyone is going to have your doctrinnaire approach when it comes to finding comfort in spirituality, and you are likely unaware of the irony of your words vis-a-vis DJ's post. In the spirit of the subject here I am trying not to really let you have it, but refraining is very, very hard!

I, personally, have come to... (Below threshold)
ted:

I, personally, have come to your site DJ with a lot of arrogence and anger. Part of it is just when you have different worldviews and perceptions of events, it is easy to get mad at others for not seeing what you are seeing, for not percieving events as you do.

In the past though, what I really enjoyed about this site was that many of the arguments were civil (which I found refreshing as universally political blogs are not). Too much passion involved in the ways our lives are governed I guess.

It would be nice to get back to that though. I do remember posts that were thoughtful arguments about the events of the day. While people\'s minds were rarely changed, liberals stayed liberal, and thought conservatives were crazy; and Conservatives stayed conservative, and thought liberals were crazy, there were real ideas flowing back and forth. Meaning you could get a decent representation (non caricature) of why one side or the other thought and beleived as they did and that is useful when you really are trying to determine reality. Really are interested in making the best decsions in who you support and why.

Anyway, I apologize for flame baiting the other day. Speaking for myself I will endeavor to make any points of disagreement in a more respectful way.

DJ, everyone seems to cope ... (Below threshold)

DJ, everyone seems to cope with death in different ways. But thank God you are alright. You've had enough bad stuff in your life like your health to worry about.

When I was a lead singer of the punk band, The Inputs, I used to joke about death just as much as I did sex. But this was probably a coping mechanism for me to deal with all the sadness. I had so many singers I loved that died early deaths such as Jim Morrison of The Doors, Jimi Hendrix and Marc Bolan of T.Rex. But I sometimes dealt with this sadness by joking about their deaths which were actually a personal heartbreak to me. I even refered to T.Rex as T.Wrecks as Bolan's tragic death in an automobile accident. I'm not insensitive to suffering, but I best cope with the bad in life with jokes.

When I lay on the pavement injured and bleeding from my serious August 2, birthday motor scooter crash, my first reaction was to joke and then ask for something to stop the bleeding. People were very nice and offered me help and I declined the need to call an ambulance and got back on my damaged bike and limped home and then drove to get emergency medical help for the injuries to my ribs, collar bone, knees, hands and mouth. But I repaired the bike and got back on in a few days after I was able to walk reasonably well again. Whether it's a horse, motorbike or car. You just have to get back on after a spill and pickup from where you left off.

My beloved father died on July 24 of a sudden massive stroke. I was a caregiver to both him and my mother. Both my mother and I are still broken hearted, but I just have to pickup and provide her the best possible in home care that I can. Sometimes you just have to pick yourself up and get back on the horse no matter how tough things are.

My dad always considered that death would be a great adventure and one would hopefully see the face of God and the hereafter. Hold on to that faith always. Never lose the faith.

langtry,In retrospec... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

langtry,
In retrospect, after hitting the post button, I realized my comment could be taken that way but hoped that it would not be. It is hard to convey one's full thoughts and feelings in a brief comment. I did not mean to put anyone down, but to enlighten if possible. I apologize for failing.

The fact remains, feeling and wishes aside, when talking about weighty eternal matters, the afterlife, etc. scripture is the authoritative source. Some are going to be offended by that truth alone. It is something that I am powerless to address.

I tend to look at things in a coldly logical manner much of the time. It is a shortcoming.

Paul, ted, thanks. It just... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Paul, ted, thanks. It just sort of hit me this week, not just the recent stuff but everything. I still miss my Dad (passed April 06), grumpy old curmudgeon that he was. And I still remember what it felt like to hear my first oncologist use the word "terminal" (thank God he was very wrong on that one). I have been very lucky, and I do know it.

The two who passed in my PMP group were very different. One was in Stage IV and we all sort of knew it was inevitable, although the end was faster than we expeced. The other was only diagnosed a few weeks back, and the prognosis was favorable. But that doctor was wrong too, and now there's a widow and kids without their Daddy for no reason but it just happened.

You just never know, and I really don't want my last words to anyone to be insulting or demeaning.

"Fuck you."Those w... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

"Fuck you."

Those were the last two words I said to my father an hour before he passed away arom a massive heart attack on April 1, 1984, while skiing at Alpine Meadows ski resort near Lake Tahoe.

For years those words tormented me and plunged me into darkness. "Regret" doesn't even begin to cover what I felt. But it took a good friend to ask me "Do you think he thought you meant it?" For whatever reason I had never thought of it that way, but clearly the answer was "no". My pop loved me, and I loved him. And I know that he knows that I didn't mean it, even if I said it a fit of anger.

I've made a conscience effort ever since that realization to never part from my wife, my family, my friends or even my dog with an angry word. That's difficult at times, especially when you're not feeling so lovey dovey toward someone.

That was reinforced when I had my own near-death experience on August 23, 2000 with a heart attack at age 33.

In light of all that, however, I've also come to the conclusion that I must speak up, even if my words aren't always kind or loving. But I will not part from a loved one or a friend with saying "I love you" or giving them a kiss or a handshake or a hug. I just can't part any other way.

As for some people that comment here, well, they test that every day. Then again I don't love them per say. "But I'm tryin', Ringo. I'm tryin' real hard to be a shepherd..."

Pithy sayings are ... (Below threshold)
Heralder:
Pithy sayings are nice, but I would invest in something more authoritative.

Authoritative? Who's the authority on mythical beings?


Jeff, Take my comm... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

Jeff,

Take my comment as illustrative, not literal. :)

Heralder,If you re... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

Heralder,

If you really believe that, then both life and death are meaningless and one's words or conduct have no bearing at all. The point is moot.

I don't believe that, Jeff.... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

I don't believe that, Jeff. I just chose a sloppy way to say 'not all share the same beliefs'.

Death is a certain thing fo... (Below threshold)
epador:

Death is a certain thing for all of us and yet we all find it humbling when we acknowledge it personally instead of inflicting or wishing it inflicted upon others. I think there's a parallel with religion in there somewhere.

When I was 29, my father di... (Below threshold)
COgirl:

When I was 29, my father died at the age of 57. Eight months later my mother died at the age of 53. I'm older now than my mother ever got to be and I have thought about dying young for over 20+ years. My husband likes to remind me that I'm in better shape than my mother ever was so I shouldn't think that it will happen to me, but I do.

I have tried to be a good person because I've always thought that you never know if today will be your last day on earth. And I want to be remembered for being kind.

So DJ, thank you for writing this post and reminding us about how fragile life is and that we should never take it for granted. Because you just never know. . .

I want to thank you too, DJ... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:

I want to thank you too, DJ, for this thoughtful post. You will be in my prayers daily.

Among my emails this mornin... (Below threshold)
DL From Heidelberg:

Among my emails this morning were two from members of my cancer support group that notified me they found new lumps and were heading off to medical appointments. We're all helpless and it seems we spend a lot of time trying to maintain the illusion of control. Words matter.




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