Column By Melissa Martin
Life is challenging — some days more than others. Someone said that we are either getting ready to go into a problem; in the middle of a problem, or coming out of a problem.
Nonetheless, if you are reading this column — then you are above ground—you are alive. The alternative is to be below ground — you are dead.
In this hurry-scurry-worry world, we often forget to stop and smell the roses along the way. Running-running-running on the hamster (human) wheel, we live for the future instead of the present moments.
Or we stay stuck in the past with our memories and loneliness—isolating in a cocoon of sorrow and emptiness. Regret, guilt, and thoughts of suicide may visit.
It’s difficult to cherish life when a loved one dies. Agonizing grief over loss can temporarily block the will to live. Emotional pain can color the world with salient sadness. Relationships don’t die because our deceased family and friends live on in our memories. Our grandparents, parents, children, siblings, and relatives live on in our DNA. And life goes on.
When you want to really appreciate your health, take a trip to a hospital or a nursing home. Health is wealth.
But, when you want to really appreciate your life, read the obituaries in the newspaper or take a trip to a cemetery. So many human beings died in their early years. Some died before they even left the womb. Diseases, illnesses, accidents, homicides, suicides, physician errors, natural disasters, genocide, war. Generation after generation deals with death. Eventually, every human dies.
Books on Life and Death
“Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson,” 20th Anniversary edition (2002) is a book by Mitch Albom. Knowing he was dying of Lou Gehrig’s disease, Morrie visited with Mitch in his study every Tuesday, just as they used to back in college. Their rekindled relationship turned into one final “class”: lessons in how to live.
“For One More Day,” another book (2008) by Albom is the story of a mother and a son, and a relationship that covers a lifetime and beyond. It explores the question: What would you do if you could spend one more day with a lost loved one?
In “The Five People You Meet in Heaven,” Albom gives us an original story that can change everything we’ve ever thought about the afterlife and the meaning of our lives here on earth. Published in 2006.
Visit www.mitchalbom.com to learn more about author and humanitarian, Mitch Albom. And his other books.
“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.”—Steve Jobs
Today you are breathing. Go outside and embrace the warmth of the sunshine. Gaze up to the sky and give thanks. Try to cherish your days above ground even in the midst of your sorrowfulness. I will try to do the same as well. And I will say a prayer for the readers of this column.
Melissa Martin, Ph.D, is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She lives in Southern Ohio.