“Now I lay me down to sleep if I should die before I wake, I pray my soul to keep.”
I climb out of bed and walk down from the attic to the living room where mommy is watching TV. With tears in my eyes I blurted out, “I don’t want you to die.” Jumping into my mommy’s arms.
I don’t know when I realized what dying meant. I went to church every Sunday and attended Catholic School. Death was spoken about all the time. We would go to heaven, hell or even to purgatory. Jesus died for our sins. But for some reason, unbeknown to me at around the age of five or six I couldn’t sleep one night thinking that my Mommy would die before I wake. Somewhere death became real, a true possibility not just some story I was hearing. I didn’t want my mother’s soul to be kept. I wanted her with me living, not dead.
Mommy told me that night, “We all have to die some day but hopefully it will be a long time before God is ready for me.” I didn’t fear my death I feared my mother leaving me alone in this world.
God took my mother twenty-seven years later. She was only sixty-four and I thirty-three. It was still too soon. I still want my mother here, alive with me. There are so many questions to ask and things to tell her.
Ben Naga one of my most respected blogger friends posted this poem, Truce, yesterday and it reminded me of this conversation with my mother at that tender age. Now as I face my fifty-four birthday in three weeks I still don’t fear the death of myself. I fear leaving my children and grandchildren. I believe or maybe I just want to believe they still need me. So I live for them.
I am aware that death goes hand in hand with living. We weren’t mean to walk the earth forever. But I do believe we each have a purpose, a reason for living. Once that task is accomplished we move on. Even a child dying young has a purpose we may not know what it is or even want to accept it. We just know that we want to keep our love ones close to us. Their dying will never be at the right time. Therefore I say, as I’m sure you’ve heard before, “Live like there is no tomorrow. It is not promised.”
Too often we take those closest to us for granted, we take life for granted. When I was diagnosed with lupus and the doctors kept telling me I was so sick, I believed I was dying, and I was at peace with it. But God wasn’t ready for me because I got better and started living instead of thinking about dying. Even the doctors are amazed at my recovery. I don’t think I accomplished what I was brought here to do. So God made the way for me to do what I need to do. I live, pray, meditate and evaluate the person I am and strive to be a peace-loving and a caring humanitarian. I try not to take anyone close to me for granted because I know tomorrow isn’t promised to me on this earth.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: