Friday, October 25, 2013

Love is watching someone die

Just listen to this song right here:
I'm going to get right to it:  My cousin died suddenly today.  I spent a meager 2 1/2 hours (my aunt spent 72 hours) at the hospital, supporting my family.  I won't go into details on exactly what happened, but I want to express my initial and prolonged reactions.
Kenslee was a wife and a mother of four.  She was smart, righteous and wonderful.  I will be the first to admit that Kenslee and I were not close.  The closest memory I have was of her babysitting my sister and I back when we lived in California.  But, those are fond memories and I cherish them; perhaps more now than I ever have.
When I found out she was in trouble, my first instinct was to apologize;  to apologize to her husband and to her kids. "I'm sorry I haven't come around.  I'm sorry I wasted time," and in a way, her death became a reason to recognize my own shortcomings "I'm sorry I'm not living as fully or as righteously as I should.", " I'm sorry I don't say 'I love you every chance I get'" and "I'm sorry I ever got mad or acted prideful.  I'm sorry for wasting time."  Any justification I had for coming up short at all in my potential was immediately dispelled in the wake of Kenslee's sudden death. 

Why would someone so good as Kenslee be taken away while someone as reckless as I am left?

From the apologies, my mind sort of transitioned into my shortcomings.  I started thinking about things like charity and forgiveness; love and faith; peace and life.  Suddenly, it's all relevant and it's not just buzzing around your head or in your peripherals; it's focused pressure in your stomach and chest that is pushing so hard that you're finding it hard to breathe.  I was suddenly aware of all of my short comings and that lead me right back into apologizing. 
I realized how fragile our lives are.  It's a flame on a candle stick that is so quickly and easily distinguished, why wouldn't we choose to live life more fully?  Why wouldn't I choose to forgive?  Why wouldn't I choose to love?  Why wouldn't I choose to play with my little nephews or give a ride to my little sister?  If tomorrow, I could be in the hospital, why wouldn't I choose to maximize my life through the small things? Is my day to day so important that those things can wait?  How long is too long for those things to wait? 

I made it to the hospital today.  As I approached, it dawned on me: Hospitals are big, beautiful buildings that are filled with our most horrific life events. Tall, sprawling structures filled with sadness and bitterness and apologies.  Once I entered the waiting room and saw my family, red eyed and despaired, I became incredibly aware of myself.  How do I stand?  Who do I look at?  What do I look at?  What can I even say?  What is there to say?  I hug my relatives who are all crying. I begin crying, too.
"I don't know what to say" comes out the most.  I don't say it to be cliche or funny; I say it because it's the truth.  Comfort seems so arbitrary.  What wise words can I say to comfort my ailing family?  "don't worry, I'm here"? "if you need anything, let me know"?  Almost every embrace was ended with an "i'm sorry". 
And I think that the point I'm trying to get to is this: I want to live my life in such a way that I don't feel the desire to apologize when someone like Kenslee passes on.  I think we all should.  Kenslee was a bright light that shined; an example for us to follow.  I want to love sweeter and care deeper.  I want everyone to know that I care and how much I care.

I love you all so much.