POETRY & WORDS :: In death, life becomes everything

Death, in all its soul-wrenching grief, gives perspective

When there is a death, it rattles you.

The very fact of life, previously neglected beneath the raging urgent tyranny of tasks, grows larger and larger until it fills the room and becomes the one thing you see coursing through everything.

And in the grieving silence that’s followed Holly’s death, I’ve never been so aware of my ability to see and hear and feel the heartbeat of everyone in the room. Life never seemed so obvious, so mysterious, so frustratingly completely and entirely out of my control.

In the faces around me, over and over and over again, I saw only this: he is alive, she is alive, this one is alive. The very existence of life, once overlooked, became everything.

Death has reminded me that the frustrations and irritations which raise our ire and make us indignant — all those situations which cause us to lash out and speak out and act out — precious few of those things actually matter. Death, in all its soul-wrenching grief and sorrow, shows us perspective.

While the wave crashes over me and I can’t see the sky for the watery canopy, I grasp snippets of this: others over pride. Others over self. This moment, because you’re not guaranteed the next. This child, because she’s on loan. This man, because our days are numbered and written in a book.

I want this to be her legacy in my life.

I want to listen more than I speak, and I want to stop jumping up so quickly, boxing gloves donned, ready to fight.

Like my friend Andrea says, “I can say what I want about theology, doctrine, justice, right and wrong and so on, but at the end of the day, when the fires are dying, it’s clear we were all created by One and placed on one earth, under one sky, on one planet. …There is only one man who came to this earth, and was not entirely made up of the stuff of this earth, and it’s Him that I want to get my fire from. It’s His light I want to see in the stars; his stories that were told fireside that I want to find in my own.”

It’s life that matters, it’s people who are alive, and this earth is where I am.

I want to make it count.

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