Today, I am celebrating my Uncle, Robert Zukowski’s, life with my family in Massachusetts.
Death does weird things to us. Emotions and feelings of loss come in huge crashing waves of realization, and then disbelief has to set in again to protect us from crumbling. But over time the waves get smaller and smaller as we grow into acceptance (or perhaps denial).
I’m not trying to be morbid. It is what it is. And I’m also not proclaiming to be the best at dealing with it. I am human and have a natural sense of LIFE! I want to live live LIVE! And death freaks me the hell out. I still have nightmares AND daymares about the tragedy in Newtown.
But not everything about death is bad. I think this society is largely desensitized to death, which is a strange defense since we’re all going to get to that point eventually.
What death does do is wake us up. When something like this happens (his death was needless and too soon), it makes us pay attention to what we have. It makes us appreciate things more. I don’t think that it’s necessary to wait until someone dies to appreciate them. Or wait until something is gone before you pay attention to it.
I will never forget my uncle and the way he affected my life. He was 13 years older than me and 13 years younger than my father. So he was like my big brother in many ways. And he died a needless death, very alone. We all tried to save him, but in the end it was all up to him, and he was not able to save himself.
He pushed all of us away, and thus killed his relationships. At one point he valued his health, but that went away with his excruciating lack of confidence. In short, he did not think he could do it. It was clear that he thought he was worthless. And he died on his couch, and wasn’t found for 4 months.
I’ve heard people say that it’s natural for us to take things for granted, and maybe that is true. BUT, how’s that working for you? I suggest choosing not to take things for granted. There is an extreme sense of loss if you wait until what you love is gone to love it. Love it while it’s here. Love your people. I have one regret, and that is that I had a card for my uncle that I had written out, to let him know I still loved him and was terribly concerned for him. And I never sent it. That will sit with me forever. I can’t bear the thought of him dying and believing that no one loved him.
I believe one of the best ways to teach yourself to love what is here NOW is to cultivate a Gratitude Practice. Every day write down 5 things you are grateful for. At first you might feel silly, and you won’t notice a different. But after one month, your life will taste sweeter. Give it a try. What have you got to lose? (more than you think)
Your Fitness Coach,