Death is something greatly feared by many, myself included. However I find my feelings about the matter changing depending on circumstances. Today I have two interesting stories to tell of death. It is the only thing promised to us in life, therefore I feel we should have an open acceptance of the natural beast, embrace it and respect it, rather than run as far away from it as our feet will take us.
My first story is of a young boy, eight years old at most. I arrived at a town beach with some friends late Sunday afternoon to enjoy the weather and have a few drinks. As we pulled up there were several police officers pushing us out of the way to reach the water. Before our eyes was a small boy’s body motionless, laying across the sand. His body was as blue as could be, and you could sense his lack of energy. Every lifeguard on duty was attempting to resuscitate what quickly became the lifeless child. They got him into the ambulance after their battle to produce immediate results, but drove off with a child who was still fighting to take a breath. According to a police officer friend tending to the tragedy, they had not been able to make the boy breathe on his own upon leaving for the hospital.
What was expected to be a nice day at the beach with friends and family quickly became a parent, sibling, and friend’s worst nightmare.
My second story is of an elderly woman, ninety six years of age. She lives directly across the street from my parent’s home. Every Tuesday my mother gets her up, bathes her, and prepares her breakfast. Tuesday morning she expressed she was too tired to even get up out of bed. My mother took her to her chair in the bath tub in hopes that a warm shower would wake her from her zombie-like state. Moments after struggling to get her in the tub she wanted out. She then sat on a chair in her bathroom as her caretaker made some phone calls. My father was summoned over to assist my terrified mother who was all alone with her. At that point the woman was unable to sit on her own so my father sat next to her and supported her with his arms. She began to drool and drop her head and my father whispered to her “you are going to a better place” and she never spoke again.
My father attempted to describe to me the emotions he was feeling as he had a very scared, sweet woman die in his arms. He said that he wished he could follow her to wherever she went after she left him, just to see what she was seeing. One moment she was there, the next she was as far away from him as two humans could possibly be.
Both encounters speak a lot about my previous mentioning of opposing feelings towards death.
For the young boy everyone fought. He had so much life ahead of him that was flashing before everyone’s eyes. An innocent child suffering from any sort of pain is a tragedy that should never occur. You cannot witness something like what happened to that little boy and even come close to attempting to seek an acceptance from death to come.
Everyone wanted to see Theresa make peace with death, to meet it in the most calm way possible. Nobody felt the urgency to fight once she showed that it was meant to be. She had a long, fulfilling life behind her and it was her time to quietly exit.
We will continue to live to understand that one day we are going to have to make our exits out of this world. We must cherish and accept every single bit of this earth we are given and every single human who stops to make a difference in our lives.