Death is the only certainty in life. We will all die at some point, hopefully after a long and mostly happy life. Of course the 'long and happy' part of the equation is not a certainty.
This is on my mind today because I got two pieces of bad news in the same email this morning. A cousin died and another has breast cancer. Both are cousins by marriage ... G, the one who died, is married to my cousin C; and S, the one with cancer, is married to another cousin J. C and J are brother and sister and I spent time with all four of them last Christmas.
I had not seen G in more than thirty years. We had some nice catching up conversations and he told me about some serious medical conditions he was going through. He died yesterday of complications connected with some risky surgery related to those conditions. I am grateful that I could connect with him again.
S had surgery a few weeks ago and will likely have to undergo chemo soon because there is more cancer. She and J are health freaks. I stayed at their house a few times after Hurricane Katrina and remember them getting up at 5 am to do aerobics together. Their meals are healthy; in fact S is an awesome cook.
All four of these cousins are older than me and are all retired. They had good lives, successful careers, well-educated children and a few grandchildren. They have done some interesting travel in their retirement and continued to live fun lives. However some of that living is being interrupted by these situations they have no control over, and at what I consider to be a still young age (they are all in their mid 60s).
Death and cancer are reminders of our own mortality and serve as a wake-up call for us to get on with our lives while we can. Be sensible but don’t wait around to live.
It bothers me that people who live healthy, moral, caring, successful lives can be struck down at such a relatively early age. There is nothing they could have done to change it, but it is still frustrating to see. Seems to me living a good life should be rewarded with more time to live it longer. But I guess that isn’t always the case.
I wish I knew why. Probably just sadly random. Just don't tell me it's God's plan.