So this week, there seems to be a theme of human frailty and mortality and I wanted to share it.
While it is the holidays and we are celebrating and happy to be with our family and loved ones, it is also a time to miss those that are gone, care and pray for those that are not well, and give thanks for our own blessings.
5 examples in one week (and trust me, I am holding back):
1) Death of family member - One wonderful lady in the office who recently lost her mother (her mom was in her very early 60s and just didn't wake up one morning) came to the holiday party, but looked sad. I asked about her well-being, and she said she is doing well, but is still remembering and dealing with the recent loss of her mom who she was so close with. We talked briefly how it takes time to mourn and heal, and frankly, we never really get over it.
2) Death of friend - A women I know just lost a very good friend (early 40s) to Kidney failure. She is on vacation, but is sad mourning over the loss, and also recognizing her own mortality and that anything can happen at anytime.
3) Very ill teenager - A teenager was at a recent Shabbat event with her peers celebrating G-d and her Jewishness, and at the event revealed that she has a brain disease and the doctors told her she only has a few months to live. She said that unfortunately she will never get to see her wedding day. It was heartbreaking.
4) Sick children - A colleague at work took a few hours off to deliver holiday gifts to the local children's hospital. She helped start an organization to raise money and support children with cancer and other devastating illnesses. It was a very beautiful thing to give back to the innocent kids.
5) Aging gracefully - A friend who recently hit the big 6-0 was a little depressed. When I asked him how he's dealing with it, he acknowledged that it's hard, but that he had all year to prepare (smile). But at the same time, he said that he can't help looking back on his life as well as thinking forward to what comes next. He's had his share of illness, but medical science (with G-d's help) saved his life so far. We talked about not knowing what happens but that he could have another 30 "good years" or that sometimes having a quick, peaceful end can be okay too--since quality of life matters as much or more than quantity.
The point from all this is not to be sad, but to realize we are but "flesh and blood" and we are alive only because G-d sustains us.
What we can do is take care of ourselves and our loved ones and make the most of each and every day. We are not guaranteed any number of years or anything else, so each moment is as precious and needs to be lived as if it could be the last.
Savor your blessings, because that is what they are--as my mother-in-law says, you are entitled to and the world owes you nothing. ;-)
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)