Getting Lost in Joy

As I approach the first anniversary of Georg’s passing, I am driven to start writing here again. For the longest time, I got swept up in life and it was easy not to think about death. But, now, it is coming back to me and seems to be nudging me to write.  It’s always just around the corner, isn’t it? We don’t know when death might visit. We pretend like it won’t come, but then, when it does, we have no idea what to do with it.

It seems like everywhere I turn these days, I find out that yet another friend has cancer. Some people are doing as well as can be expected and are getting past it with chemo and radiation and surgery. Others are just hanging on by a thread, and each day move closer to leaving. My dear friend in California who I visited last January is still here on the planet, but she is not doing well. I am going back out there in 10 days, but it is unclear if I will get to say goodbye to her in person. This is not easy to swallow, this death thing.

Until my dad died, September 26 was not a memorable date in my world. It was no one’s birthday, no anniversary, no first or last day of anything of import to me. After he died, I tried to think of any time I had ever done anything significant on this date, and nothing would come to me. I would watch for this date to pop up somewhere, like on an old letter in a file, something. I wanted to know what I had been doing on other September 26s of the past. But, alas. Nothing showed up.

It started to bother me that Georg had woken up on 75 September 26s in his life and never knew that that would be the date he would die.  It made me wonder, “at some future time, will this day be the anniversary of my death?”  This is not how a person lives a life. One lives life by getting absorbed in it, getting lost in all the joy, heartache, trials, and tribulations. Having fun with children, friends, and relations. Making gardens, cooking meals, helping other people. Laughing, for heaven’s sake.

It sounds morbid, I know, but there you have it. All that said, I know Georg would want me to focus on the joy. He would not want me to wallow in this knowledge that death is coming, no matter what we do, no matter whether we are the picture of good health at this moment or are struggling with disease. I will die. Some day. But, not today. Today I am alive, and so are you.

Illia,me, and dad on Thanksgiving at my mom's some year, unknown, being joyful with a spinach pie fresh out of the oven.
Illia,me, and dad on Thanksgiving at my mom’s some year, unknown, being joyful with a spinach pie fresh out of the oven.

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