Friday, March 20, 2009

A Sudden Death

It started with the unexpected death of Heath Ledger on January 22, 2008. My awareness of how fragile our bodies are and that life is such a vapor was brought to my attention by his sudden passing. Heath was suffering from insomnia and not feeling well and took the wrong combination of pills - then his life escaped us in a breath. His passing actually really affected me and I'm not really sure why, because I honestly had only seen him in one of his films (and now in The Dark Knight). I listen to the NPR station in New York so I heard them reporting of his possible death early that day. I was disturbed that his life was gone when he had no intention of leaving us.

Then the beginning of this year I heard that a former co-worker's young adult son had also left this life in a flash. I remember that sweet boy and can't believe that we won't discover what he will "be when he grows up."

Last Friday another life ended suddenly. She was a first grade teacher at my boys' school. My older son had her as his first grade teacher three years ago and my younger son currently in first grade saw her in his class room the day she died. The cause of her death was not released and our minds only race to imagine what really could have happened that dark day after school. Today the children released butterflies and blew bubbles in her memory. Her parents gave their daughter's favorite stuffed animals, the Beanie Babies, to each one of the first grade students and my son named his Dalmatian after her.

On Wednesday we learned of the tragic skiing accident and death of Liam Neeson's wife, Natasha Richardson. She is only three years older than me and her kid's also that much older than my two boys. I couldn't get out of my mind the scene in Love Actually where Liam Neeson plays Daniel, a man who had just lost his wife to cancer leaving behind a son. The part where he cried and his friend, Karen, played my Emma Thompson, comforted him as he "got a grip" about the recent loss of his on screen wife kept running through my mind as a watched a clip of Liam entering the building where they held his wife's wake. It touched home once more. Life is so fleeting and precious.

Yesterday I received an e-mail that a young adult boy in a drama organization, called CYT, had died. He had been cast in a lead role in the 2007 run of the Legend of Pocahontas. The cause of death, once again, was not released. Our speculations on what had happened to such a talented boy had to halt. I didn't know him, but I was aware of the show and the talent of those kids.

The wrong combination of pills, too many pills, a bump on the head, an aneurysm, and a moment of despair and a loss of hope can all cause death in a shattering moment. Where as I see drunks roaming the streets in the wee hours of the morning, walking like zombies half dead, but still alive. We hear of the billions of dollars sold for the drugs that pass our borders yet the threat of death does not stop the intake. I know of someone who has been drinking since he was 18 and now in his 60s he and his girlfriend are intoxicated everyday by 10:00 am. I know another who has been smoking since he was 14, drinking and combining drugs and yet his heart continues to beat. People who have smoked or drank for all their lives continue to live on. Although others take a wrong turn, intake a bad combination of pills, or make a spontaneous decision to take another flight, have left this world in a moment.

Let's stop and appreciate the life that we have. Let us tell our loved ones how much we care for them, take the time to learn more about God, slow our lives down and spend time with our friends, and live life to the fullest.

I have no fear of my own death, because I am confident that I will one day be in the presence of God in heaven. Although TODAY I know that I am able to be with my husband, enjoy my beautiful boys, learn more about God, engage in great conversations with friends, write down my thoughts, and celebrate another day in this life - our here and now.

So, here is to today. Live life to the fullest. Don't postpone what you have always wanted to do for another day. Don't spend your time so busy with stuff that you can't enjoy the people in your life. And please don't spend another day without Jesus in your hearts. Live life to the fullest and do it today.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, Sharon! You said it so well! I feel the same way as you about the deaths of Heath Ledger and Natasha Richardson. Such a tragedy for those left behind. I felt the same way about Princess Diana. I mourned her like I knew her and kind of felt silly about it. Life is much more fragile than we realize and like you said, it's important to live in the here and now and enjoy all those special moments. A few years ago my 47 year old doctor died while surfing. He had a heart condition and knew he could go at any moment. He had already lost his parents and a few siblings to the condition he carried. When I attended his funeral a few days after he died I was amazed at how full his life was. Knowing that he may not live long he did all the things that he wanted to enjoy and participate in. He died while surfing, he had a small vineyard, he traveled to different countries doing good will and enjoying what the country had to offer...and the list goes on. I believe the life he lived was an ispiration to everyone there. He left behind a wonderful legacy to his wife and 2 young children, who, I'm sure miss him terribly. Thanks for reminding us about the important things in life :-) ~Suzy