After watching the final episode of The Big C last evening, I reflected on how people will sometimes make peace on their deathbeds. ***Spoiler Alert*** In the final hours of her life, Cathy, the main character, makes peace with her father.
I’m not sure how often deathbed reconciliations happen, but the thought of reconciliation must pass through the mind of many hospice patients and those who are estranged from them.
But sometimes we don’t have a time of dying to prepare ourselves to leave from this earth. We don’t have time to tell the dying what they mean to us.
Death happens in an instant.
In light of the most recent tragic tornado in Oklahoma, I notice how more frequently people talk about hugging their children or being kind to strangers. This happened after the Newtown shooting and September 11. I even remember calling an ex-boyfriend after the September 11 tragedy in hopes to bring peace to our severed relationship. The world was turned upside down, and it felt like the right time to reach out to him.
I can’t help but think that reminders of our mortality usually push us into a space of desired peace, kindness and reconciliation. As we are reminded of our inevitable death, we reflect upon the meaning of our lives. Maybe we think we haven’t loved enough or we haven’t tried to bring peace into our relationships. We hold people closer – even the ones who have caused us pain.
And then, as time passes since the last tragedy, we let this sense of reconciliation and peace drift away. We go back to screaming at the car driving to slow ahead of us. We let out sighs of frustration when the person in front of us in the supermarket line has to run back into the store to get another 2-liter of soda. We argue with the ones we love.
Not to be negative, but shouldn’t a sense of mortality become a part of the way we treat our neighbors? Why do we expect that they or we will be around to speak words of love at a future time? Why do we go out of our way to spread kindness to strangers when a tragedy touches our nation, but just go about our business when life flows as usual.
And why do we think there will be some magical time as we are in the process of dying when we can reconcile with our loved ones? What if death happens in the blink of an eye, and we miss the chance to say “I love you.”
How do we want to live our one lifetime? How do we want to live in this moment here and now?
We should pour out the same amount of love for one another whether or not there are shootings, bombings, tornadoes or any other major tragedy nearby, somewhere in our country or across our planet.