Monday, April 25, 2011

The last time

If suddenly you found yourself in a situation that changed your life drastically, like a terminal diagnosis or an accident. Could you be happy with how you've lived your life?

If you knew it was the last time that you would do something that you've done each day, like pet an animal or drive a car. Would you have stopped to enjoy it a little more?

We go through our lives in such a hurry that we forget to appreciate the simple things. Even a snowfall seems to annoy us, knowing that we will have to clear it from the walk or the car. Perhaps we should enjoy it for the beauty that it brings or even the exercise that we get.

There is always a brighter side. Always.

I work in a business where there is a lot of sadness and regret. Yet I try every day to find that brighter side. To find pleasure in the simplest things in life. I try to enjoy everything that I do.

Here's a story that I had kept to myself for years. When I was eighteen, I was working one night at my part time job and remember my friend calling me at work wanting to talk. We were not allowed personal phone calls, so I told him I would stop by after work. When I did, his dad told me that he had gone out and he didn't know where. I left thinking that I would catch up with him in the morning. It turns out That was the last time I ever talked to him. That night is the night that he killed himself. I did not attend the funeral because I felt responsible for not answering his call for help. It was something that I struggled with for years. I now know that it was not my fault and I believe that going through this myself, has helped me with my line of work.

To this day, when I have to do a funeral for a person that has killed themselves, it is very rough on me and can bring up many old emotions. I feel badly for the loss of life as well as sympathize with those that are left to deal with the aftermath.

A while back, I did a funeral for a seventeen year old boy that had killed himself. He was a very popular football star and overall well liked in school. People think that it is "the losers" that do such things. This kid was no loser by far. The day of the funeral almost no one went to school. The church was packed with people left standing outside. We had cars lined up in the parking lot for the procession as well as the baseball field across the road. There were so many people crossing the road (a Michigan highway) that the state police closed the road. There was over 300 cars in the procession and the police went on ahead closing the roads as we traveled to the cemetery. Everyone involved will never forget it.

Knowing what everyone was feeling made it the most difficult service that I've ever done. There was one point at the cemetery that my emotions were so strong that I could hardly breath and I had to stand behind the hearse because the sight of the crying teens would bring up all of my old feelings. I still stop by his grave from time to time remembering everything.

In my line of work, you never know who you will affect with what you do. Years after that service, I met a new friend. When he started to tell me about the loss of his friend a few years ago, I knew exactly who he was speaking of. It's given him a little peace knowing that I was involved in the care of his friend. With my help, he's even been able to visit his friends grave for the first time. He's also been able to share some stories and insight of the events that led up to the incident that took that young life. While I can't discuss the details, I can say that it was a classic tale of parents not paying attention to what was happening with their children.

What I have taken away from all of this is;

* Don't assume anything about anyone
* Don't be afraid to ask questions of my loved ones
* Be understanding that not everyone thinks the same as me
* Take the time to enjoy being with my friends and family
* Treat each day like it's the last

I hope that everyone had a great Easter weekend. As you can tell by the photos, it's finally spring here in Southeast Michigan. I'll be back soon with more of the 30 day blog challenge.



That corgi :) said...

very wise words you shared. We cannot take each day or each event for granted because we do not know what tomorrow holds indeed. I can't imagine the aftermath for all after someone takes their own live. I would imagine the guilt for those left behind would be impossible to bear at times. My daughter was suicidal for a time and had attempted it on more than one occasion, thankfully never succeeded, but that was hard enough trying to keep her safe and try to deal with her anguish about her life.

It was good you were able to help someone else and understand what they were feeling, having experienced those same emotions yourself.

thanks for sharing this with us. I am sure it was difficult to write.


Calling Ravens said...

That, was a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing it with us.
I am glad to see Spring has finally arrived for you, your crocuses are lovely!
Have a magical day today!