Remember your death…

I’ve got a lot of thoughts rattling around this brain of mine lately- kind of a confused jumble most of the time, so i apologize if this is totally incoherent…

My great uncle Ev passed away last week and his funeral was yesterday. Uncle Ev was 86, great husband for 62 years, father to eight children, grandfather to 19, great grandfather to 2, uncle, great uncle to many many more, and friend to all. He died very suddenly, had been doing well, healthy, living his life, and then he died of a heart attack. It was and is a shock to all of us, particularly his family. And yet the more i think about it, the more I think that that is exactly how I would choose to go… I remember watching my grandma suffer so much in the last year of her life and it was incredibly painful for her and for all of us, certainly beautiful in the midst of the pain, but incredibly difficult. When she died, it was almost a relief to know that her suffering was finally done. My Oma, my grandpa’s second wife, also suffered a lot in the last months of her life, and finally died with her family at her side. But Uncle Ev, he was playing cards with my grandpa a few days earlier, still going to daily Mass, bringing the Eucharist to the homebound, enjoying his family, his hobbies, his life. And then, almost without warning, it was time to go.

Yup, if i had my say, that’s exactly how I would want to go… still in the midst of all of it and then bang, heading out. His death and the suddenness of it is a reminder of how fragile life is- any of us could go at any moment. When I die, I don’t want there to be regrets… I want to be ready at a moment’s notice for God to call me Home… Am I ready? Are there things I need to do? People I need to reconcile with? Have I told my loved ones just how much I do love them? Do I say it enough? What would they say in my eulogy (now that is an interesting and scary thought… hhmmm)? On a practical and yet personal level- Are there closets I should organize just in case someone else has to deal with it when i leave? Should I write a will? What do i have to put in a will anyway? Who would take care of my pooches if I was gone? … so much to ponder…

I think it was the Carthusians (but I could be wrong) that used to greet each other with “Remember your death brother.” What a good reminder for us- to live today as is it is our last day here, our last opporunity to love God and our neighbor on this side, our last opportunity to make a difference and to do all things, large and small, with love.

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