They say that deaths come in three's, and sadly this past month, I've found out that it's true. Tonight, I discovered that my best friend Brooke's mother passed away early this morning. She had lung cancer which spread quickly through her body. Last week, I attended a viewing for another high school friend's father. He was a popular fixture in our community and I'll always remember passing his smiling face on the streets of Old Town. He fell down the stairs while helping his daughter move, and broke his neck. And a couple weeks before that, Billy and I attended a funeral for our friends who lost their baby boy seven months into the pregnancy. Needless to say, it's been a sad month.
Part of me feels selfish for tying these deaths into my personal story, but death is a part of life, and it's something I've had to deal with a lot lately. It seems that there are constant roadblocks in our quest to stay healthy, both physically and emotionally, and this is certainly no exception. When sad things happen, we tend to put ourselves and our commitments aside for the time being to focus on our friends and loved ones. I think it's a perfectly natural thing to do, and there is no shame in it. But when is it ok to stop mourning and move forward with our own lives, still thriving around us?
For me, there is always a sense of guilt when I put myself first. This is something that I've been desperately trying to work on, and not doing such a good job with. During these difficult times, things like going to the gym and focusing on a healthy diet get put on the backburner until I can find a place to jump off the emotional roller coaster. Where's the best place to disembark? I'm really not sure.
Death is an unstoppable force that comes when it wants and never cares what's happening in the living world around it. Losing a loved one makes you stop the present and yearn for the past. The future seems too gloomy to think about, so we tend to get stuck in that sadness and not know how to pull ourselves out. I was only close to one person that passed on this month; Brooke's mom. But my sympathies and fears and need to be there for my friends weigh me down as if the others were my own family. I find myself feeling lethargic and falling back into the routine of not having a routine...skipping meals, eating whatever makes me feel comfortable, and avoiding the gym. I know this is the worst possible time for these things to happen. My inner, healthier voice is telling me to go ahead and grieve, be there for my friends as much as I can, and try to move on. Sometimes we just have to allow ourselves a smidgen of selfishness, even in the face of others' hardships. It sounds bad, but how else can we live our lives to the fullest?
I remember when I was a vegetarian and I used to cry myself to sleep thinking about all the atrocious things that happen to animals living on factory farms, soon to be presented in neat little packages for the masses to consume. I would agonize over innocent animals being made into fur coats, and the ones who are senselessly hurt and killed in the name of "safe" cosmetics and household cleaners. Presently, I am still aware of these atrocities, but instead of being depressed about them everyday, I simply do what I can to not be part of the cause of their suffering. I guess the way I deal with death needs to be the same. Sympathize, think deeply, and let it go knowing I have done my best to support those still suffering. In the end, I still have my own life to care for.
Published On: September 01, 2010