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Friday, March 02, 2012

The Universal Train Ride: More musings on life and death

In comments Windbag made the observation that some deaths are just like mule kicks.

It is true.

We expect that people who are older and infirm are going to die.  It is just the natural way of life.  We have the time to get used to the idea.  Gradually accept that the end is near. The sand is visibly running out.   We can rationalize the death because we have been able to come to terms with it.

You may think: "She was so ill for such a long time it is a mercy."  "He has had a long and productive life full of family and friends. His legacy will live on."  Or even "He led such a terrible life with drugs and alcohol that it is no wonder that he didn't go sooner."      And so on.

It's a kick in the gut when someone young is suddenly gone.  Suddenly.  With no warning.  No gradual acceptance.  Just ...wham...boom....gone.    

When I was young, I had a good friend who was pregnant at the same time as I.   (I must say here that I don't have a lot of  very close friends and haven't had very many women friends in my life.  Perhaps 3 or 4.  Lisa was one of those)  We shared the experience.  Our two young families bonded through the experience.  We were like family.

Through the good and bad, we shared the experience. Anticipation of what our babies would look like.  Would it be a boy or girl? Healthy...God willing.   Will my baby be smart, beautiful, handsome, athletic.   Laughed at stories of the physical side of pregnancy. Morning sickness.  Inconvenient bodily function accidents.  We laughed and worried together.  Supported each other and drew strength from each other.

Her beautiful daughter was born just 4 months before mine.  The children played together and became like sisters.

Suddenly, at the age of 30, Lisa had a seizure while driving to work to her job as a nurse in the local hospital..... and ran into a tree.  Suddenly her 2 1/2 year old child was motherless and her young husband was a widower.  No warning. No explanation. Just....wham...boom....gone.

The funeral was attended by friends, who were also in their 20's and 30's.   Each and everyone of us had been slapped in the face with our own mortality. Stunned.  Mule kicked.  The two girls didn't understand, of course, what was happening and continued to play happily with each other, as always.  Unaware that things had changed forever in the wink of an eye.

Keagan's First Birthday
Watching their innocence, I thought, this could be me.   This could be my daughter who is motherless.  Who would grow up and never know me, except as a story told by someone else.   It could be me who was suddenly gone and I would not have the joy of watching my daughter grow from a baby to a woman with children of her own.   As has happened....did I mention that I am a new Grandmother with a fabulously smart and talented Grandson  :-)

From that time on, I was aware that each moment could be my last.  It could be anyone's last.   

So....what does this have to do with the Universal Train Ride?
Get to the point will ya!

We are all on the same train going down the tracks.  Some of us get on at different stops, before or after each other.   We all have different designated stops to leave the train.    Some people, like my friend, have a very short train trip.  Others have a long ride.    However, you never know when your stop is coming up.......until the conductor calls your name.

So....enjoy the train ride, because you will not know how long or short it is or when your ticket will be punched.  I try.  Sometimes I fail, but most often I am enjoying the ride and the scenery.

I wonder what the destination will look like.  I hope it is nice.


  1. I was born the day before my mom's birthday. About two weeks shy of our birthdays, she died unexpectedly of a stroke. She was going to turn 68. I was going to turn 34. One of my first thoughts was, "Am I half-way there?" Two days after we buried her, my little girl was born. Life cycle.

  2. Death comes unexpectedly. We may grieve for the a month or so but still we have to move on. The memories of our loved ones who died will be buried deep in our soul and will never be forgotten.