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BRODY: Coming to terms with the idea of death

Way back in 1995, I wrote a column, and some of it will not ring a bell when you read this. However, the main and important message most certainly does.

Therefore, I am going to rewrite it once again.

Lately, I cry over the smallest things. I’ve always felt deeply but now it takes very little to turn on the tears.

You know the comic strip “For Better or For Worse?” If so, do you recall the family dog

Farley, that big, soft, galoot of a canine who saved the life of April? 

I guess we don’t expect comic strips to be like real life. I know in real life Farley would be 18 years old, and it was time to die.

Maybe it would not have hit me so hard if my own grandpa hadn’t just died. But he did die, and I cried.

The daddy went on to explain to the child that we all have a limited time on Earth and none of us knows how long we have to live.

I put my paper down, dried my tears and mulled these words. 

Grandpa lived 96 years, and he enjoyed most of it. 

Though he didn’t like the restrictions extreme old age imposed on him, this was real life just like in “For Better or For Worse.”

Could it be that I prefer make believe, where everything and everybody lives on and on and loves every minute of it, to real life,?

Yup, it certainly could be. 

When I picked up my paper again, there before me was “Calvin and Hobbes.” They were looking up to the vastness and the wonder of the stars and moon. That was the first frame.

Then, in frame two, they are back inside the house surrounded by the TV, the VCR, the telephone and the microwave, all to which Hobbs said, “That is why we stay inside with our gadgets. We understand them and they make us feel safe.”

Well, once again, I put the paper aside. 

That’s it. We feel safer when we are in control, and all of the modern gadgets are man-made and I control them all. 

So, I stay inside looking outside to the heavens and feel very small and insignificant and definitely know without a doubt that we are not in control of that. It’s sort of like death.

We can take care of our physical body, but we still cannot prevent that day from coming which lies in and we know it.

It is always a curiosity to me how and why we all pretty much live in denial of the vast reality of death. I admit that I do have personal convictions about life after death or preferred to call it life after life. But there still remains that we are not in control. It is like leaving the house full of gadgets for the vastness of the ultimate mystery, and it takes courage to leave the door behind us.

Maybe I cry easily because I miss Grandpa and because I have reached the age where I have at last opened the door, and from that vantage point, I can see clearly the inside of the house and I feel some measure of comfort while also seeing the house and all its mysteries. 

It becomes clear to me that we live and we die in little steps, in small stages. Taking much of the fear away by the time we’ve reached the end is a merciful thought to me.

You know, I thought my beliefs about death would be hard to write about. Pen to paper my heart took over and it frees me to say what I am coming to believe.

The view from the mountain is wondrous.

 

Jean Brody is a passionate animal lover and mother. She previously lived in Winchester, but now resides in Littleton, Colorado. Her column has appeared in The Sun for more than 25 years.