Saturday, January 07, 2006

illness and death and plans

At age 46, 11 years ago, I heard the news that my cousin Ron, 6 months younger than I, had died after a long illness. In our youth, when we both lived in Pittsburgh, Ron and I were sort of close. We were part of the 26 cousins, the middle group, so at large family gatherings we hung around with others of the same general age. So we knew each other pretty well back then. Same interests, same grade in school, heck, we even shared the same Godmother.

Of course as we got older, married and had families and moved apart. Most contact was kept through others, mostly his mother my Aunt Marge who wrote occasionally and who would say how Ronny and the other of her 10 child family, was doing, etc. Or if we would attend the same wedding or funeral. But his death did affect me. When he died I decided I had to start doing the things I had put off. Things that I had planned to do some day and yet some day never got around to happening. I had time, I thought, to do them.

But Ron died. He may have had plans like me, but he ran out of time and never got them done. Because of his death I bought a stick shift car and learned to drive it. I took a long distance ride on a train - Miami to Philadelphia for my college reunion. I got tickets and attended an Olympic game, when the games were in Atlanta, the soccer quarter finals were held in satellites cities and Miami was one of them. I saw Brazil play Japan and get beaten (big upset). I went back to school and got my Master's degree.

Now I don't just say "someday", I plan for it, because some day may not come for me.

There were the "older kids",much older than I, 7 of them all of them my cousins since I was the oldest child of two in my nuclear family. Tony, Ron's oldest brother died within the same month he did. He had a heart attack. Jackie, an only child of my Aunt Irene, died a few years ago, he was the very oldest of all of the cousins, and now Philip, the oldest son of another branch of the family, my Uncle Phil, has had a cerebral hemorage and is virtually waiting for his organs to fail so he can complete the dying process. Philip is 65.

My family is getting old and begining to die off.

I guess that means I am getting older too.

I knew it was coming, after all dying in a part of life.

So I wonder what has been left undone? What else should I be planning? What else will I be able to do before my time?

Maybe I should sit down and write a list so I know.

Wow- Its amazing how quickly someones perspective on life can change after something tragic happens. It seems that all around the globe this is happening. People are realizing that life is going to end... and people seem to have 1 of 3 reactions: They get scared and freak out, They just kind of wait for death to happen, or they do something about it and try to live life to its fullest. I wish you the best of luck on your journey of living out your life.
Yeah life goes on. So don't waste time ont he past and what might have been. Live for now and plan to live for the future. The past won't change and no matter how you dwell on it you can't make it. But you can control the present and the future. So live. It's the only thing you can do.
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