I was the kind of person who would avoid a wake or funeral in a heartbeat. I’m sure we all know this kind of person. I would be uncomfortable calling the bereaved family during their difficult time, would make every excuse why I couldn’t make the services and then very cowardly, send a card full of cash to over compensate for my absence. I didn’t like funerals and I hated dead people even more. The whole process really freaked me out and I was the queen of ducking it.
I couldn’t put my feelings to the side. I couldn’t put the loss and thoughts of the grieving ahead of my own selfishness. But like someone said on FB today, it’s interesting that when a cause affects us personally, how our opinions change! How true. The turning point for me was when my sister/cousin Nadine died prematurely. A 23 year old girl gone, a waste, and she was never coming back. The circumstances of her death were so astonishing, that our family was shocked and shattered. I had an ‘outer body’ experience, where I saw firsthand death and grieving, of which I was on the front row of it.
I started thinking about her short life. How she was a ferocious reader, loved children, was incredibly generous to my children and had just graduated from college the year before. I thought about her quiet and thoughtful spirit. She never missed a birthday, anniversary or holiday. The highlight of these celebrations was getting a unique and unusual card from her. She didn’t just pick out some Hallmark card. She would go all out and find you the most touching and moving tribute she could find. Oh how her smile would light up a room! She had a keen eye for a bargain, a love of fashion and she adored her Grandma Roper when most young women never thought of old people. Yes, she was a remarkable young women and not just because she was my sister-cousin either. 6 years after her transition, I still feel her spirit ALL the time.
2 years after her death, I got cancer. That’s when I really started to miss her. I thought about the beautiful cards I would have gotten from her. I thought about the jokes we would have shared, as I got my head shaved. I thought about carrot juice (probably spiked, may I add) we would have shared. Yes, I miss my dear friend but I hold on to her memories as if she’s still in the Bronx. See, she left a legacy of kindness and meekness. She volunteered and served others. Dying was not her ‘issue’ because her life was completely full at 23.
How’s your life? What would your legacy say about you? If you were to transition tomorrow, what would people say about you? Would your life lessons be a form of inspiration for those who know you?
Ironically, I speak and deal with people almost on a daily basis, who are told that their time of this earth is extremely limited – a year, months, weeks, days…. Now, instead of avoiding death, I’m smack in the middle of it. Now, I deem it a privilege that people would allow me to help them transition to the next dimension of their existence. I hold hands, I pray, throw a load of wash in, and I’ve even been blessed to lead someone into the light before they depart this world. I never thought in a million years that ‘cancer’ would be my ‘occupation’ and obsession but I’m so glad that God trusts me enough to bring these people into my life.
I hope that for all my previous selfishness, that the Big Guy has put it all in the vault (smile) and that my new record is a tad better! I’m crystal clear as to why I’m still here and God’s purpose for my life.
If you were to transition tomorrow, would people have to have to ask, ‘why were they here?’ If so, you’ve got some legacy building to do.
Love and blessings,