My Dad died in the early hours of February 5th 1994. I had flown home from Washington DC the day before he died. When I got to the hospital, my Dad was unconscious and on a respirator. Seeing him for the first time with all the tubes and machines attached to him, I screamed and ran out of the room. I was not prepared to see him in such a state. The last time I saw my Dad, which was September the previous year, he was healthy (so we thought). After I composed myself, I went back into his hospital room and talked to him as if he could hear me.
I went home with my brother and sister-in-law that night, and my sister-in-law woke me up around 1AM, letting me know my Dad had died. Some of my family went to the hospital to see my Dad one last time. I chose to stay at my brother’s house. My Dad was cremated, so my last image of my Dad is in the hospital. The siblings of mine that saw my Dad after he died are thankful for their last image. They said he looked peaceful. I suppose a part of me wishes I had made a different decision the morning my Dad died, though I can easily look at pictures of my father and erase the hospital image of him.
When my Dad died I was heartbroken. One of the toughest things to face was the fact that life continued. I was mourning. My family was mourning. My Dad’s friends and colleagues were mourning. Still, the world around all of us continued to move forward, as if nothing horrible had happened. I can remember driving down the interstate consumed with sadness, and I became so angry when I noticed other people laughing in their cars. How could they laugh at a time like this? Didn’t they know a great man had just left his world?
As I type this, many nameless people are mourning the loss of a loved one. Many nameless people are sitting bedside by a loved one, watching him or her battle for life. And, I know people who are battling kidney Cancer, seizures, Multiple Sclerosis and Diabetes. These people I know are not nameless. These people are friends, relatives and loved ones. Yet, while all these people fight their battles, others are living a ‘normal’ and carefree life. I’m not suggesting we all become consumed with guilt, ever aware of the pain and suffering that surrounds us. Rather, I suggest we try to keep things in perspective, and we try to offer compassion to those that are suffering.
Today the death of celebrity Corey Haim is making the news. Corey died of an accidental overdose at the age of 38. He struggled with drug addiction for most of his life. And, I am certain Corey’s friends and family are consumed with sadness. I am also willing to bet that his family and friends are finding peace, knowing Corey’s battle with addiction has now ended forever. And, as they mourn, my life goes on uninterrupted. Corey’s death does not affect my life in any way, shape or form. Corey’s death does not change the fact that I have a friend who is worried about his newborn daughter, battling seizures since she was born on February 22, 2010. And, Corey’s death doesn’t change the fact that I am constantly thinking about my husband’s brother and his first cousin, who are battling Diabetes and kidney Cancer. In fact, my husband’s first cousin recently found out the Cancer has spread and there is now a tumor on his one of his vertebrae. Finally, Corey’s death doesn’t change the fact that my sister-in-law is battling MS.
I believe it is also important to mention the people all over the world, continuing to recover from earthquakes, hurricanes, mud slides, bombings, war, etc. Haiti was in the news for several weeks after the devastating earthquake earlier this year. More recently, Chile was hit with a horrific earthquake. Is it just me, or have you noticed that the earthquake in Chile did not generate the same media storm or call to action as the Haiti earthquake? Does a nation have to be incredibly poor to be worthy of help? The lack of attention Chile has received, compared to Haiti, seems unfair to me. Goodness knows, the world stopped for the people of Chile. Moreover, the world stopped for those around the world who had friends and family in Chile. In fact, I believe it is safe to assume that the world has yet to restart for many affected by the earthquake in Chile.
Again, my point in this babble is not to overwhelm you with guilt. Frankly, this blog enables me to express my own feelings about things that bother me in this world. My post is selfish, because I am able to stop my world for a minute, draw attention to the things that matter to me, giving me a sense of purpose. I believe I am also drawing attention to the nameless people who are in the midst of their battles, perhaps feeling invisible to the world around them. Via a friend on Facebook, I came across a blog created by a woman who recently lost her husband in a car accident. On December 29, 2009, I had a non-eventful and normal day. However, one woman from Texas was in a car accident on December 29, 2009, and her husband died as a result of that accident. In an effort to work through her grief and new life challenges, she is writing ‘Through the Valley‘. I encourage you to take a minute and read her story.
I hope you are able to enjoy a non-eventful and normal day today. Should you find yourself amidst a challenge, please know you are in my thoughts. No, I don’t know you, and I will not likely know your specific battle; however, I know you exist and I know battles are never ending. I know I wanted the world to stop for my me, my Dad and all those who loved him. So, I make it a point to stop my world daily, to think about those nameless people overcome with their own personal sorrow. And one more thing, would you please consider clicking on one of the following links and make a donation? Think of the nameless people who need your help. I am willing to bet you will get something out of it in return. The American Red Cross; Partners In Health; TOMS; The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society; Bethany Christian Services