Thursday, March 12, 2009

A View of L-I-V-E

"A lot of people enjoy being dead. But they are not dead, really. They're just backing away from life. Reach out. Take a chance. Get hurt even. But play as well as you can. Go team, go! Give me an L! Give me an I! Give me a V! Give me an E! L-I-V-E! LIVE! Otherwise, you got nothing to talk about in the locker room."

It was a circle of life sort of day for me today. One of my co-workers brought her brand new twins to work for everyone to see, and they were amazingly beautiful. A chubby cheeked boy and a rosy cheeked girl, two months old. Mom was glowing - she said she gained 40 pounds during her pregnancy and lost 45. It was a beautiful scene - people standing in our foyer admiring new life, Mom beaming proudly over her bundles of joy and talking about how her husband's fallen madly in love with his babies, everyone smiling and talking in joyous but hushed tones so as not to wake the children.

Their appearance helped cut the some of the sadness that had been lingering in the office the past few days. One of our fellow staff members who'd been battling an aggressive terminal illness died over the weekend. His memorial service was today. Just steps away from the staff members cooing over new life were other staff members preparing to pay their respects for a life tragically lost. As some smiled at a sleeping baby, others wiped away tears for a friend now in eternal rest. I went in the afternoon with a couple of friends. On the way there and back, we talked about loss, the young children our colleague left behind, and the shock of losing someone who had seemed so healthy just a few months ago.

Earlier in the morning, before the babies and well before the funeral home visit, another friend at work told me her family dog - old and sick for a long time - will have to be euthanzied tomorrow. She said she's not sad about what will happen because the dog is suffering and it's time for her hurting to end. "It'll hit me when I go to pet a shadow - when I expect her to be by my side and she's not," she said. It made me think of the cats I've loved and are no longer with me. It's amazing how much love one can have for a pet, but at the same time it's amazing how much love a pet can have for us.

Love. Life. Loss. It is the eternal story. We're here a brief time, then we're gone. It's what we do in between the start and the finish that's important. I thought about that as I watched those babies and saw that proud mom's smile. I thought about that when my friend talked about preparing to help her four legged friend, even though it means saying goodbye for good. I thought about that as I walked into the chapel this afternoon and saw loving photo montages that chronicled the life of my colleague - his family, his wife - so happy he's no longer suffering but so heartbroken that he's gone - his children, his friends. All of it spoke volumes - life is about what you do and how you do it, not what you have and how much of it.

It's also about how you prepare to go, too. My co-worker's wife is a nurse and she talked about how he fought his illness so bravely and so hard. He never gave up hope. Still, she confessed she'd been afraid of the possibility of having to see him carried away in a body bag, or the indignities that come with a final push to save a person who is in the final throes of death. "I see that so much in my line of work," she said. "I didn't want to see him have to go through that. Not after fighting so hard."

And living so fully. The chapel was full of people who loved him, just like that foyer was full of people who loved those babies and the joy they brung. Just like my friend preparing to say goodbye to her beloved dog - a lifelong companion. It's all about life, folks. Life, love and loss. Go out and live. Love everyone who comes your way. Don't be afraid of loss. As a matter of fact prepare for it - it's a true act of kindness for those you love and for those who need love. And always, always sing out and be free.

More later, after I take a breath of fire.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Blogs Browser said...

a sad post this one is. This week most female bloggers are posting sad stuff :( Dudes are more cheerful. Could it be the full moon and the unconfirmed theory? maybe, maybe not

6:04 PM  
Blogger TEM said...

Hang in there. The funny and upbeat will be returning in this week's posts. Sometimes in Michigan, go blue means work out a little depression.

1:45 PM  

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