Different Ways to Die

Ways to Die

My mother, 91, sleeps more with each passing week and is increasingly confused. Her kidneys are beginning to fail. We make time to visit her and hear her stories as best she can tell them. We pamper her with lavender room spray, massages and manicures. We have time to say a long goodbye. It’s not easy, but somehow it feels okay, even peaceful. The next generations are already lined up in front of her. She will leave behind 5 children, 11 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren. So while we mourn for the death that is yet to come, we relish the life still within her.

And then there’s another kind of death. The kind that comes out of nowhere. I have some personal experience with this. My father, with no previous cardiac incidents, died of a massive heart attack at age 68. Then, years later, my husband was diagnosed with Stage 3B small bowel cancer at age 54, the same cancer that robbed his dad of life at the same age. So my husband and I mourned the carefree family life that was taken from us in one fell diagnosis. “The news I have is not good” said the gastroenterologist in his awkward way.  But we have been lucky, at least so far. We mourned, but he survived, so we continue counting our blessings and feeling incredibly blessed to be recreating a new, more present, life together. Others are not so lucky.

And then there’s the Las Vegas, Orlando, Sandy Hook, Boulder, Navy Yard, San Bernadino, Tuscon, Columbine, Sandy Hook, Parkland*, Capital Gazette* way to die. A death no one anticipates, a death that stuns not only a family, but a community. A death that angers because of its shockingly violent destruction of life in full swing. Concert-goers and country music fans of all walks of life, taken from their loved ones in a harsh moment. Young children and their teachers, going about the business of learning, gone. Movie goers, gone. Department of Public Health employees enjoying a Christmas party, gone. Night club attendees danceing the night away stopped mid-move. Naval officers, gone. High School students on their way to class, gone. Students everywhere, crouching together fearfully in classrooms, gone. Constituents meeting a Congressional Representative, gone. And journalists, working hard to report the truth, shot dead in a matter of minutes.  Others are injured, maimed or traumatized. Life, innocence, love, and health are sacrificed.

There is no time to shower these victims of gun violence with expressions of love. That means no lavender room spray, massages or manicures. There is no time, either, for them to put their affairs in order. Gun violence stripped away these end of life niceties, leaving their loved ones reeling and feeling helpless. The least we can do for these, our fellow Americans, is to keep their memory alive by mobilizing and fighting for our right to assemble–free from fear of open gunfire. This is not the time to give in or give up. Take to the streets. Write your representative. Engage in civil dialogue with your friends and family. Inform, demand, and resist.  Baby steps? Perhaps. But steps nonetheless.

Everyone deserves the chance for a little lavender spray as they make their way to the next destination, don’t you think?

#endoflife #MandalayBay #LasVegas #gunsense #SandyHook #guncontrol #sensiblegunlaws #babysteps #ParklandStrong #CapitalGazette #lavender  #essentialoils  #diy  #roomspray

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