This year I have been to a couple of funerals and also know a couple of people whom have died that I was unable to go to their funerals. Most recently a friend’s mother died, Beth was her name. Beth lived life to the full we were regaled with many of the funnier stories around her life, her extraordinary love of giving her animals rather long and convoluted names, sometimes three or four names. Beth died from cancer, she had fought hard and well but in the end it won. Beth slipped into a coma and died peacefully, one of the attendees said “a good death”.
This may seem to be oxymoronic, how can any death be good? We spend a lot of time, effort and money avoiding death. Of course some people seem to be the opposite they spend a lot of many, energy and time courting death. As I sat there at the celebration of life I pondered the remark a good death.
One of the things that I have heard around death is a long list of regrets, regrets from people that had unresolved conflicts. Things unsaid, undone and the finality of death for many people closes that door. The lesson that I have learnt through these experiences is to try to keep the level of regrets in my life as low as possible. I have written on fear in the past and it is my experience it is often fear that causes or influences us to the extent where we have unresolved conflicts. Many people may say it is a matter of pride however it is my belief that pride and fear are inextricably linked. The fear of what people may think of us is another way of talking about a loss of pride.
I have oft heard the phrase that which does not kill me makes me stronger, in jest I have rephrased that to that which does not kill me merely postpones the inevitable for that I think is far closer to the truth. I have experienced heartbreak and sorrow in my life that has not strengthened me, I think that the phrase is a glib and unhelpful way of deflecting reality. There may be circumstances where this correct but often these things serve to close us of, we tend to keep our feelings guarded, resist closeness and intimacy in case we are hurt yet again. The Bible in proverbs 4:23 says above all else guard your heart. Now this may be interpreted in many ways however for me it is a hard one. I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve and I find it difficult to guard it. One of the reasons that we should guard our heart is that our actions are often a reflection of that which is in our heart. I certainly know that i need to have a close look at myself if my reactions and actions become too flippant, emotional or unacceptable. I have learnt that this is often a sign of some unresolved conflict, hurt or loss.
This brings me back to the subject of dying a good death. Death for me is inevitable a fact of life and whilst I hope it is sometime in the future I have had times where life has seemed to be extremely difficult. I thought about what I would like to hear people say when I die . I talk about passion and enthusiasm so it would be nice to hear that. I would hope that people would talk about my concern for justice, my honesty, integrity and that I am a great friend. It would be nice to know that I am valued, above all else I would want to hear that I was loved. Now whilst that would be nice to hear I grant, to only know that after I died would be a tragedy.
If that in my mind would be a tragedy then for me I am going to take a huge leap and say that is probably a shared thought. To have loved someone, appreciated them and admired them and not told that person would be another tragedy, an un-resolvable regret so. Didactic this may seem, my challenge is for other people to look at this post and think about unresolved conflicts, unsaid appreciations, undone threads and to start to resolve them where you can. Not all that is done can be undone I accept. I will be doing this myself. So if I randomly tell you something don’t be surprised and don’t brush off any compliments or gestures of appreciation.
Love and peace to all,