I am not much of a talker but when I converse with others, I find that one of the hardest subjects to talk about with family and friends is death, even though we all know it is inevitable. There are many who are not willing or able to discuss it. But it is something we all must come to terms with.
After watching The Mary Tyler Moore Reunion show on Katie Couric’s show, Katie, and hearing of Valerie Harper’s current fight with terminal brain cancer, I couldn’t help but think about what would be the ultimate response to our having to deal with death after being told we had a short time to live.
I was and still am a big fan of The Mary Tyler Moore show and while watching them share memories and seeing my favorites Mary Tyler Moore, Valerie Harper, Betty White, Cloris Leachman, and Georgia Engel all together, it put a ton of smiles on my face. I did pretty well with my emotions until Katie started asking Valerie questions in regards to how she was coping since being diagnosed and receiving the news.
As she began to speak and celebrate family and friends and express her appreciation of support from the nation, tears began to flow from my eyes like a river in celebration. She was smiling and had this to say, “Don’t go to the funeral until the day of the funeral. Don’t miss your life while you’re feeling good and can do things… Let it be there and go through it, then move on from it.”
I thought, “Wow.” She is courageous, positive, vibrant, loving, carefree, and upbeat. A wise soul I could clearly see, who felt as though there was not a worry in the world. She’s handling it quite well. I lay in bed and clapped to commend her. I loved her attitude. It was priceless. Her strength was unbelievable.
I began asking myself and ask you too, with death being inevitable, what would you do? If you were told today you had only a few months or a short time to live? What would be your response to the devastating news?
What if you had to write your own eulogy for your funeral? What could you possibly say that would make a difference? To someone who may not know how to cope as well as you? Or may be able to cope the same way Valerie’s has, given what she’s been through? What would you have to say about yourself and the life you lived? How would you handle knowing the estimated time your own death was imminent?
I know it’s a lot I’m asking of you because it is a lot I am asking of myself too. But I really would like you to take a moment and think this through. Not for me, but for yourself in the hopes it may prepare you.
As for me, this is what I would simply say, “I lived life vicariously.” Through my relationship with God and held on to my trust and faith. Yes, there were times when I didn’t understand why my life turned out the way it did. I am truly grateful to God it did. Grateful for his saving me from a life that could have been worse, had I continued to feel sorry for myself and lived in misery. I’m thankful. I don’t have any regrets.
I would want to be remembered not for what I’ve done but for what God allowed me to overcome. With the hopes that my life was a reflection of inspiration and encouragement, to know that a life well deserved was a life well spent.
Don’t ponder on things you can’t change. Instead live and rejoice because of things that didn’t remain the same. In the face of death, take Valerie’s advice. Don’t give up on life. Only to make matters worse because you’ve been told you will leave before you expected. Remember, death is to be expected. And we must be prepared for when the day comes. Live your life to the fullest and thank God for the time you have been given until it does.
What if it were a matter of life and imminent death?
I say, “Don’t fret.” Don’t hurry what will happen and live with sadness, bitterness, and regret. Take each moment as it comes and be thankful for it. We all are one breath away from leaving this earth. Embrace God’s gift and make it all worth it. Thank God for healing. Thank him for strength and courage to make it through. Thank him the time he has given you.
Until that time comes, continue to build a relationship with God. Stay committed to reading God’s Word and applying it daily that you may live life abundantly and overcome. Meditate. Be patient while you wait. So that when your time comes, no time will have been wasted.
Be blessed! –JD
2 Corinthians 5:1 “For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands.”