gooollysandra

Thoughts on thoughts and images of beautiful things

Tag Archives: death

Gone

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A whole life, gone.

When a person dies, their whole life goes away, which may not seem very significant because people die all the time and it is a natural part of life, but it is actually a tremendous loss. Say a person lives for 90 years,  when that person dies, those 90 years go away along with the person. This is a tragic loss, especially if the person lived a rich life and offered a big portion of themselves to other people. Everything that they accomplished during those years goes away, and sometimes, it means the end of a family. Their struggles go away, and sometimes even their culture and their history go away. But what if we try to incorporate that person and the things that were important to them into our lives, and by doing so, feel as though we incorporate ourselves into them? If we do this, we can honor that person and carry on their legacy. Furthermore, we allow that person to stay with us and always remember them.

“Joie de vivre”

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Some people just have more ‘life’ in them than others – more things they’ve done, more things they want to do, and more creative minds that take them to different places. My grandfather was such a person, and upon his recent death, my mother and I have been examining his life as we’ve been trying to write his obituary. I’m just amazed by all that he has done – not that everything he did was terribly significant, although some things certainly were, but it’s the little things like his hobbies and interests that add up to a remarkable life. He was a fantastic photographer (although not professionally trained) and set up his own darkroom in his house to develop pictures, he was an accomplished pianist (which ran in the family), he traveled extensively throughout Europe with my grandmother, he had several careers as a teacher, journalist and professor, he had an intellect that I haven’t seen surpassed by anyone else that I’ve encountered (although I’ve had some fantastic professors that have come close), and was an art collector & chess player. He fled his homeland due to political unrest and left his family behind, never to see them again, lived in four countries ranging two continents, and knew four languages. He wrote several scholarly books and articles and, most importantly, he had a tremendous sense of humor. He made fun of people, criticized everything, and had very strong opinions regarding politics; but now, looking back, it was all in good fun (maybe). As I think about all these things that my grandfather has done and accomplished, I just can’t fathom that someone could have the enthusiasm to do all those things with and the heart to survive some of the things that he has. It’s really amazing to me. Like I said, some people just have more ‘life’ in them than others.

Death

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What comes to mind in the instant you find out a loved one has died? Today I found out that my grandmother died, and my first reaction was a flicker of love, just for a moment, before what had happened really hit me. It was a surprise, although she has been ill for quite some time, because it seemed to happen without warning and out of the blue. In an instance like this one is sad, of course, but I am also relieved because her quality of life has not been dignified the past couple of years ever since her stroke. When thinking about death, it always amazes me how the difference between life and death is so vast, yet the movement from one to the other happens so swiftly – in an instant, literally. It seems as though the transition from life to death should take longer than a second…