Thursday, January 31, 2008

Reflections on Death

There is a memorial service tomorrow at the university where I work, for three students who died in a tragic car crash. Death is something that we all have to face – the death of love ones and eventually our own death – but it’s especially hard to come to terms with when someone dies so young, and in such a senseless way.

I have stage IV cancer and I’m alive and well, and those three young students are dead. My friend Carol was diagnosed with breast cancer in the same year as me and she died three years later.

Yet I’m still here. It leaves so many unanswered questions about fairness and the purpose of life.

I’ve come to the conclusion that there are no answers. I do what I can to eat cancer-fighting food, stay active and remember to take my medications. But sometimes it seems that for the most part, illness and death are random and not something we can easily control.

While the topic is rather gloomy, the possibility of death makes me live my life with intent. Is it selfish to be thankful that one of those kids in the car crash wasn’t mine? Is it selfish for me to be grateful for this day, this moment, this breath?

But then again… who am I to not enjoy my life when others can’t? Isn’t that a disservice to those less fortune to not value the life I’ve been given?

I’m taking a moment to feel for those grieving families. But just a moment. Because then I’m taking another moment to be thankful for the abundance of blessings in my life.

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