Monday, May 4, 2009

The One With Dying

I've lost a pretty fair number of people that I love in my life--more than most people my age. This isn't something I'm a particularly huge fan of; however, it is a huge part of who I am today. I thought I had a pretty good grip on my thoughts of death and dying, but this week I am experiencing something new--actually being part of the process. See, the people closest to me that I've lost, I wasn't really there. I dealt with the aftermath more than the dying. With my friend Dave it was a little bit of a process, since it was a roller coaster ride as we waited to see what would happen--but it all happened hours away from me. I never got to see him, or say goodbye, or anything. Brandon died super suddenly...grandparents I guess I was a little more aware of things going on, but I was younger and thus not as much a part of what was happening.

My grandmother (mom's mom) is very, very sick. She is dying. And she knows. I went to see her tonight, and we know it may be one of the last times we get to see her and actually have 2 way communication. She knows her time is limited, and she's scared. She also can still tell little jokes, open her eyes a bit, and knows who we all are. We don't know how long this will last, but it's very sad to watch. And it made me think--sometimes, I think death, especially in elderly people, seems...natural. I mean, everyone dies. You get old, body stops working, end of story. It's sad, and painful, and all that stuff....but man. It's so NOT natural. It's so opposite of the way God intended life to happen. And it's SUCH a picture of how incredibly broken world is. Doesn't matter if you're an unborn child, a 20 year old boy, a 29 year old man, a 64 year old woman, or a 92 year old man...death is awful.

Also, it got me thinking. I've wondered before about a few things. Would I want tubes and machines to help keep me alive? No. Definitely not. When it's time to go, it's time to go. I am not interested in artificially prolonging that. But more than that, I wondered...would I want the chance to say goodbye? Would I want this in between time, when I know I'm dying, but not dead? I know many people would. But I don't. I don't want to know I'm going, don't want to sit while people cry around me, don't even want to say goodbye. I'd rather live my life knowing I don't NEED to say goodbye because things have already been said. And I sort of wonder how well I do that. In some ways, I think I do. I'm pretty confident that if I die tomorrow, my husband will know beyond the shadow of a doubt that he is my hero, my strength, my joy, my best friend, and the love of my life. I am sure that Trip and Joy know that they are some of the most influential and important people in my life and without their friendship I do not know where I'd be. But in other ways, I wonder. Does my mom know how much I admire and respect her? Do my little sisters know how much I love them? Do my co-workers know how much they make me look forward to coming into my job? Does my sis-in-law Kristen know that every single time we talk, I'm grinning because of how happy she always is? Do Tim, Bethany, Kat, Jill, Holly, Becky, and Brian know how closely I hold them to my heart?

Sometimes, I'm not sure. But I know that at the end of my life, if I could choose just ONE thing to have people say about me, it would be this: She loved well. That's what I want. Looks like I've got some living, and loving to do!

(Also, people should say that I'm funny. Good thing my gravestone can say whatever I want. It could even say, "Ross Geller, Good at Marriage.")


Heather Nicole said...

you ARE funny. only you make a post about death and make people like me smile at the end :)
but, as funny as you are, you are 100times more loving. for real. I know that and I don't even know you all that well ;)
yay for love. love always wins.

Jillian said...

aww. Ash I like that and I totally agree that we need to live for today and let people know exactly how much they mean to us. I know you won't have any problems with people remembering what an amazing friend you are, you value your friendships and that comes through in everything you do. love you! (ps. i also miss you!we need to see each other soon)
Ps. My tomb stone is going to say "Pheobe Buffay buried alive"

Michal Ann said...

I noticed your cute "Waldo" comment on mycharmingkids and discovered that you are a wonderfully wise and sensitive writer. You've given me lots to think about. Thanks for reminding me about C.S. Lewis' quote. What a marvelous author he is! Is that comment from "A Grief Observed"?

Just dropping by...

I don't have a blog but email if you'd like:

Love in Christ, Michal