Friday, October 10, 2014
A DIFFERENT VIEW OF DEATH
"Let life be as beautiful as summer flowers
and death as beautiful as autumn leaves."
The first anniversary of the death of a loved one can be a difficult time for anyone. Memories swell, crashing over you like angry waves or gentle ripples, sometimes a little of each. How do you cope with a day like this?
Yesterday was the first anniversary of the death of Len, my best friend and partner for 35 years. I felt I needed to do something special to acknowledge the day, aside from putting a new autumn floral arrangement on his gravestone. I decided to get into my car and go for a ride to see the beautiful fall leaves, something we often did together. As my car meandered its way along winding country roads, his favorite Willie Nelson songs magically popped up on my radio.
After making a few stops to try to capture the beauty of the season with my camera, I found myself at the casino where Len and I had often enjoyed the buffet lunch and playing the slot machines. We typically lost about $25 each before we called it a day and began a leisurely drive back home. In fact, I frequently took him to the casino to celebrate his birthday. Now I was going alone - to mourn his death.
As I pondered the stark contrast between celebrating a birth and mourning a death, it suddenly struck me that birth and death are actually the same thing - if you look at it from a different angle, within a broader perspective. Len's death on earth was actually his birth in heaven. Perhaps I should be celebrating his first birthday on the other side of life instead of mourning the first anniversary of his death on earth...
It had been time for him to shed his deteriorating earthly body, his time to "go home" again. But his spirit lives on in many mysterious ways. That includes within our memories and in the hearts and souls of those he left behind.
Wiping back a few lingering tears, I looked up at the startling beauty of autumn leaves swirling overhead. And I whispered "Happy Birthday, Len."
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