Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What happens when you live?

I have been thinking a lot about the subject of death in the last several months. Our family knows many who have died in the last four months, some close and some not so much. My foster sister's mother died last week in Alaska as my parents were in Alaska at the same time for the death of their best friend. Death is in the news, death is in our house, death is in my mind.

What about those who who don't die, but actually live? Bear with me.

One of my best friends from high school, Becky, and I just connected two weeks ago from Facebook. I have enjoyed our email exchanges, hearing her humor in her words. A few days ago her mother was in a fender bender and as she and the other driver were examining the damage, a car drove out of control and hit them. Lynn, Becky's mother, is lying in a hospital bed as I write this, with multiple surgeries awaiting her. She has a pelvis that is broken in 12 places. She has had part of her leg amputated, and perhaps more. She has been sedated since it happened.

What happens when Lynn wakes up? Last thing she may remember is that she was talking to a stranger about some car damage and next thing she wakes up with her leg cut off. What would you do? What would you say if you lived to face that?

Another non-death I have spent a great deal of time pondering is that of best friend Tom. Diagnosed with terminal cancer two years and three months ago, he was given a year to 18 months to live. We planned accordingly. He gave much of his stuff away. He traveled. He achieved goals. We as his best friends have curtailed our own lives in a way to serve him, spend great times with him (which we would have anyway of course), and be on some sort of Defcon 5 level emotionally, sadly anticipating his passing. Funny thing about it is that he is really strong. So strong, in an "all natural" way in fact, that he has lived. And life has gone on. Taxes are due, kids need new clothes, and people have sort of "moved on" as he calls it. Tom feels it. We have come to call it the "what happens when you live" syndrome.

I have a close up view to watch what happens when you live and I think sometimes it is harder than it sounds.