In the past two months, I've lost loved ones and been close to people who have lost their loved ones too and every time death comes, I try to will myself to understand it so that I can deal with it better. This is of course easier to do when the person lost is old or has had to endure a painful illness, but when it relates to someone who is young and seemingly full of life, it seems impossible to reason. What possible lesson could be learnt from the death of a young person or a child? It seems absolutely illogical to me.
A friend recently lost her niece at the age of 5, she had just been diagnosed with a brain tumour and before her parents could get used to the idea that their child was suffering from a fatal condition, she was gone. I cannot imagine anything worse in this world than losing a child. While I am not someone who despairs easily, this is the one thing that I think causes me sadness beyond belief. I cannot fathom how or why an innocent life can be taken away. Yes I believe in God and for the most part I agree that everything is according to God's will. I even try and tell myself that things happen for a reason, that rather than despair we must try and learn from them but I cannot understand what lesson God could possibly want to teach us through the death of a child or a young and healthy person.
As a parent, my fear of death is even more pronounced, it renders me so completely helpless that I cannot even contemplate it. I fear losing my children, I fear them losing me or their father or the family members they love and hold so dear. As incomprehensible as it may sound, I almost want to make a pact with God to spare them the heartache and pain of losing someone. Given the chance, I would make absolutely any sacrifice that would guarantee their happiness and well-being.
Death is a strange thing and I know we can't spend our lives fearing it because as the saying goes it is the only certain thing in life but isn't it understandable for us to wish it knocked on a door far far away from ours? It's not that we don't expect it to ever happen to us, just that it would happen after we have had a long and full life, after we've seen our children grow, witnessed the birth of our grandchildren, after we have achieved what we set out to achieve. Is that such a selfish thing to ask for?
Another aspect of our lives that makes losing our loved ones even more painful is the fact that circumstances have meant that we reside in all the various corners of the earth, sometimes thousands of miles away from our family.While we may be a phone call away, it is often physically impossible for us to reach those we love so dearly and to hold them close and comfort them when death happens in the family. This separation renders us even more helpless and we can't help but curse the day we left for the pursuit of a better life...a life that now means our children could not see their grandparents before they died.
I often pray for spiritual enlightenment - the ability to understand the meaning and purpose of all things which I believe leads to inner peace. I'm tired of fearing things I have no control over, of dreading the early morning phone call with bad news, wishing if only I had done this or that differently. The untimely death of my beautiful niece has made me vow each day to hold my family and friends closer, to keep in touch more, to visit more, to call more and to make each and every day count knowing that it could, very well be the last.