Friday, September 15, 2006

Mortality

Until I was in my thirties I had never had a family member or a close friend die. Unfortunately, this abnormal statistic was followed by a wave of deaths both in the family and among friends. I felt like my boss was getting suspicious that I was making up all of these funerals just to get some paid time off. The result of this is that I have probably spent more time thinking about this the last five years than I ever have before, not just my own mortality but how to fill the voids left by others that were close to me.
A columnist that I read often gave the following advice about how a man that I admire is facing his own mortality. I have posted the article in it entirety sinces he share many of my beliefs.


Facing mortality can be life affirming
by Robert Kirby

When the LDS Church dedicated its latest temple in Sacramento, Calif., last week, Mormons were pleased to see our leader acting like his spry old self after his bout of recent health problems.
However, at a youth gathering in the Arco Arena, President Hinckley seemed to predict his own death by alluding to the increasing fragility that comes with old age.
"I don't know how long I'm good for and it may be the last time I'm in Northern California, but I'm here today," he said.
Mormons were suddenly abuzz with the possibility that the prophet might get "called home" in the next few days. How much longer could a man of his age last? Did he know something was up?
I'm not sure why anyone would marvel over such a revelation. President Hinckley is nearly 100 years old. He probably wants to be dead. I would if I was that old, my wife was gone, and millions of people pestered me all day long.
He didn't say he was going to die. He simply pointed out a truth that applies to all of us. Who knows from one minute to the next when death is going to crook a dry finger at them?
Granted, we expect death to come for the elderly because no one lives forever. And the older you are, the more likely it is that your time is up. Eventually you reach an age where people stop asking you what you want for dinner.
Ironically, some of the people among the thousands who heard President Hinckley ponder his own mortality last week - and maybe dozens who later read about it - had no idea that they could beat him to the other side.
Through traffic crashes, heart attacks or strokes, death may have come for a few who were wondering how much longer an old man could last. They didn't realize that their own lives were over.
None of us do. Maybe you're one of the people reading this column who won't see the end of next week or even the end of today. Heck, I might not live long enough to finish writ. . .THUNK!
Just kidding. It's not morbid to acknowledge that life is short, often far shorter than we think it is. This simple fact ought to cause us to worry more about living better than longer, but it doesn't.
Most of us act like we have an unlimited supply of tomorrows. We don't live like we were dying even though we are. We have to consciously remind ourselves that it may be the last time we're "in Northern California" or holding our kids, our telling someone that we love them.
Live like that and maybe dying won't matter as much.

3 comments:

  1. This is actually in my mind some times in the morning when Noah reaches his arms up for me to carry him downstairs. I think this boy is a truck and I won't be able to carry him much longer...but today I'm happy that I get another chance!

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  2. I hope the formatting works, but here ya go:

    Artist: Tim McGraw
    Album: Live Like You Were Dying
    Song: Live Like You Were Dying

    Lyrics:

    He said I was in my early forties
    with a lot of life before me
    when a moment came that stopped me on a dime
    and I spent most of the next days
    looking at the x-rays
    Talking bout the options
    and talking bout sweet time
    I asked him when it sank in
    that this might really be the real end
    how's it hit you when you get that kinda news
    man what'd you do

    and he said
    I went sky diving
    I went Rocky Mountain climbing
    I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named FuManchu
    and I loved deeper and I spoke sweeter
    and I gave forgiveness I'd been denying
    and he said someday I hope you get the chance
    to live like you were dying.

    He said I was finally the husband
    that most the time I wasn't
    and I became a friend a friend would like to have
    and all the sudden going fishin
    wasn't such an imposition
    and I went three times that year I lost my dad
    well I finally read the good book
    and I took a good long hard look
    at what I'd do if I could do it all again

    and then
    I went sky diving
    I went Rocky Mountain climbing
    I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named FuManchu
    and I loved deeper and I spoke sweeter
    and I gave forgiveness I'd been denying
    and he said someday I hope you get the chance
    to live like you were dying.

    Like tomorrow was a gift and you got eternity to think about
    what'd you do with it what did you do with it
    what did I do with it
    what would I do with it'

    Sky diving
    I went Rocky Mountain climbing
    I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named FuManchu
    and then I loved deeper and I spoke sweeter
    and I watched an eagle as it was flying
    and he said someday I hope you get the chance
    to live like you were dying.
    To live like you were dying
    To live like you were dying
    To live like you were dying
    To live like you were dying

    ReplyDelete
  3. Loved the article, thank you for sharing that.

    Man, I love that song, canis!

    ReplyDelete