It was an unneccessary miscalculation to hold back the truth, in my opinion. I’m glad I saw it played out.
Artist that I am, I’ll analyze the way things look to the heart to portray them using tools that play to the eye. So how does this look:
Last week a friend ‘suddenly’ died, leaving people who knew him scratching their heads, wondering. They didn’t know it had been in the works for a year.
Eventually, they just fill in between the dots and assume things when you don’t talk with them while you’re able.
He showed up last year about this time looking like death. Throughout the big struggle, he held to his story that he’d thrown his back out and was in pain, but that was not the truth.
Life is held together by many things, theory being one of them. As I get experience I discard pet theories for the established facts. My adult children have disagreed with one of my theories and they turned out to be correct. Remembering the fellow who was weak from a blood cancer that doomed him and who for seventeen years repeated the “this is our last Christmas” (last outing, last dinner, last summer, last anything and everything) routine, I told them that if I had a terminal condition, I’d reveal it about a month before the end.
That way we wouldn’t waste our limited time together under the dark cloud of mourning (my advanced theoretical thinking).
They claimed my plan deprived them of time to say what they’d need to say.
Now I see. There were people who would have loved to pitch in and help the fellow who died and ease things for his wife. They never got the chance, not realizing the situation was dire. At least one of them now doubts it was a friendship because he wasn’t important enough to confide the truth.
I don’t think any of the fallout was intended. He just didn’t want anyone to think him “weak”. Toward the end he started visiting the shut ins and widows. One wonders if he’d have visited his friends and shared this last thing with them if he realized that it would hurt their feelings to be decieved. It’s inconsistent to comfort strangers while disregarding friends.
We learn from experience, but some things happen just once.
Now it’s clear to me that that fact doesn’t undermine the chance to do it right. It’s not true that it’s sudden, circumstances at the very end aside. We know upon birth that death is certain. So it makes sense to have an overall strategy so that certain things are right all along the way because you can be picked off life’s conveyor belt any time.
It would be a pity to be cut off before one realizes and fulfills their life purpose.
As bad, almost, would be to have neglected any who your unique place and spirit could have comforted and thereby deny them that benefit.
I’ve decided that if it should be that I know that the great life guard in the sky will soon blow the whistle at me, and hollar, “you! outa the pool!” I’ll let know whoever ought to know and I won’t wait till the last few minutes.
Of course, it could be outside my control. I could be asleep. They send someone. I want to resist. They shut off the body that I live in so the thing dies. We proceed leaving no time to tell anyone any last words.
The strategy then is to make sure relationships are in order all along the way and keep learning. Eventually I’ll know the difference between enduring what must be endured, and putting up with petty impediments to the fulfillment of life’s purposes. There is a difference, even if both look the same at first glance.
The point is that the first time one dies is the only time, but it doesn’t have to be a handled like it’s a complete surprise.