By Monday, 5:00 PM, last week, I'd faced a death a day for three days.
Even a single death, hitting close to home, becomes a pivot point in our lives, when we re-evaluate who we are, what we do, how we see ourselves, our relationships, our place and things we do in the world.
Three deaths spun my head around even more.
One conclusion I reached was it's better not to wait until a person is dying to say things that need to be said-- forgiveness, apologies, expressions of love. Sooner is better.
I was lucky, when it came to the death closest to home of the three-- my ex-wife and mother of my children. We had a chance to talk, to apologize and forgive, to express our love for each other.
But others delayed coming to the hospital and the last three days she was there, she slept, not speaking to anyone. Some of those people had things to say. Some never made it to the hospital and had things to say. They arrived in time for the funeral, or the viewing, in time to give condolences but not in time to share final words-- a sad thing for them and for my Ex. I'm not judging them. Dealing with dying is hard at the simplest level of just listening to what the docs say about how much time the patient has left. Dealing with the complex issues of facing death, dealing with a person who you know is dying is hard.
Like lenses in a complex optical system, the second and third deaths kept me thinking about death, thinking about my life and relationships. When old friends came to visit at the shiva we held, after the Catholic Mass for my Ex, I embraced them a bit more tightly, looked in their eyes a bit deeper, valued their friendship even more.
If you take away a lesson from the deaths in your life, at least there may be some good that is a part of them. You could even consider that good to be a gift that comes from the death.
Watching the person who's dying face death can also be very instructive-- another gift. I wish I'd talked to my Ex, Nancy, more about what she was going through. She did talk about her intention to forgive. That was helpful for me, though I must confess there were people who wronged her who I was unable to forgive. Nancy died, at the young age of 56, from metastasized cancer, with grace and dignity, a lesson to all who knew and loved her.
Not all deaths are so noble. Some suicides are escapes from unrelenting pain but some suicides are angry, cowardly acts that intentionally hurt others.And I don't want to make the pain of survivors worse by suggesting they should be seeing "gifts" from the deaths.
My "take-away" from this never-before-experienced three deaths in three days was to decide to try not to wait, to say what needs to, deserves to and should be said sooner, not waiting until the last minute, or maybe until it's too late, particularly when it comes to forgiveness.
Rob Kall is an award winning journalist, inventor, software architect,
connector and visionary. His work and his writing have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, the HuffingtonPost, Success, Discover and other media.
Check out his platform at RobKall.com
He is the author of The Bottom-up Revolution; Mastering the Emerging World of Connectivity
He's given talks and workshops to Fortune
500 execs and national medical and psychological organizations, and pioneered
first-of-their-kind conferences in Positive Psychology, Brain Science and
Story. He hosts some of the world's smartest, most interesting and powerful
people on his Bottom Up Radio Show,
and founded and publishes one of the top Google- ranked progressive news and
opinion sites, OpEdNews.com
more detailed bio:
Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind. Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives one person at a time was too slow, he founded Opednews.com-- which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big) to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization (more...)