On Death and Dying or Life is Fleeting

2012/01/22

I wanted to post my feeling on this about a week ago, but out of respect for the family and not wanting to share any information before they were ready, I decided to wait.  A little over a week ago, an aquaintance of mine lost his wife.    When I used to teach, I would see him at professional development days and teacher things, and sometimes, I’d see them at church.

A week ago, she had a massive heart attack in her sleep and died.  She was 33.  They have a daughter who’s about 7 or 8.

She was a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter, a friend.  She was young.  She was overweight. She was stressed out.  And she had a heart attack.  And died.  At 33.

I write that because in a lot of ways, she is me.

I am a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter, and a friend.

While a little older than her (36), I am still young.

And I am overweight.  And I am stressed out.

Do you see where this is going?

That could have just as easily been me.  But for the grace of God go I, and all that.  When I heard about her death I was shocked.  I mean, I know overweight + overstressed = candidate for heart attack, but she was so young I would never have seen it coming.  I doubt she did, either.  So many questions filled my head all that day and night:

Did she wake up the morning before just like every other day?  Was she tired?  Was all that she had to do that day running through her head?  Did she go to the market?  Take her daughter to dance class?  Did she kiss her husband goodbye?

Did she put gas in her car in the cold, and comment to her gas- pumping neighbor on how cold it was?

Was she thinking about all she had to do that week?  Fretting about her ailing mother?  Did she argue with her husband?  Were they on good terms, or barely speaking?

What did she cook for dinner that night, or did they go out?  Was she feeling okay, or unusually tired?  Was her heart racing and did she attribute it to stress?  Did she think she was coming down with something?

Did she read her daughter a bedtime story?  Did she skip pages or rush through it because she was tired?  Did her daughter ask for just one more story?  A glass of water?  One more kiss?

Did she kiss her husband goodnight?  Did they make love?  Sleep with their backs to each other?  What was she thinking about as she drifted off to sleep after a full day?  Did she say her prayers?  Have a quiet time?  Or maybe just crawl into bed, exhausted, deciding that when it came to exercise/ lovemaking/ prayers/ devotions/ reading that bedtime story she’d just do it tomorrow?

All of these questions plagued me, and we’ll never know the answers.  The truth is that a lot of those questions described MY Saturday, and I thought about how much I would regret if that had been me and I could have looked back.  I would have read the extra story, hugged my kids a little tighter, kissed my husband, made time for that last prayer.  Or knowing it was a possibility,  in the days and weeks before I’d have taken more time with my kids, exercised anyway, made better eating choices, been more available for my husband, and worried less about the house/ laundry/ my to- do list.

I’ve decided that I’m going to learn from this wake up call, focus on what matters, change those things that I can for the better, and honor God with the time I have left- however long that may be.  Not just for me, not just for my kids or my husband- but to learn from and honor the life of a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter, and a friend who left us too soon.

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2 Responses to “On Death and Dying or Life is Fleeting”

  1. Beth Says:

    Hi,
    I found you on the Proverbs 31 woman comment that you made today and this one hit me. My mom died at 37 of a brain aneurysm. She was 37, married, had 4 kids (I’m the oldest), highly stressed, overweight, the whole 9. She was a teacher and on my 37th birthday I was a teacher (as she was), in a classroom, and wondering what her last day might have been like. Today I am 51, married and with a 6 year old son. I’m stressed, overweight, have hypertension…you know where this train is going. I have resolved to drop the excuses, lose the weight, get off off all of this stupid medicine and live/do/and be the woman that God put me here to be. I finally GET it. It’s not about trying to “look cute”- it’s not even for my husband or my son. I have to have the guts to do this for ME so that I can be there for them and do the stuff that God put me here to do. Thanks for this post.

    • chanamiata Says:

      You’re welcome. Thanks for your comment! Praying with you as you begin this journey for yourself- and please pray for me as well, as we are in the same boat! Or, maybe at the same buffet… 🙂

      I’m reminded of the chorus to Mandisa’s song “Waiting for Tomorrow”:

      Can’t live my whole life wasting/ all the grace that I know you’ve given/ You’ve made me for so much more than sitting on the sidelines

      Don’t wanna look back and wonder/ if good enough could have been better/ every day’s a day that’s borrowed/ so I’m not waiting for tomorrow!

      That’s us. We can do this!!

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