Sunday, February 01, 2009

How old is too young to die?

We received the shocking news this morning that a friend from church had passed away a few days ago. He was only 62. His death was supposedly quick and painless, so it was probably a stroke or heart attack in his sleep.

My husband just spoke with Mike a week ago. He was his normal ruddy and jovial self at the time.

Even in my 20's and 30's I would have thought that 62 was an early death. Now that I'm in my late 40's I REALLY think it is.

The picture of Mike on the memorial site is relatively current. I didn't even know he was in his 60's. He was so vibrant and healthful, I always assumed he was in his early 50's.

I refuse to change my way of thinking. I will continue to be stunned by the deaths of friends and loved ones, regardless of their age, especially if they seem vibrant and healthy.

My own mother passed away at the age of 67 a little over twelve years ago. That wasn't too shocking. She had been a lifelong smoker and died from a quickly metastasized lung cancer. It was difficult, but I had a few weeks to get used to the idea that she was going to die.

I'm not sure which is better for the survivors, a period of getting used to the idea with time to say goodbye, or a sudden loss. Similarly, for the dying is it better to get a chance to say goodbye or to live your life fully and healthily up to the last moment, with no warning.

I guess it's not important to consider, since we really have little control over when death occurs. I suppose it is best to live life to the fullest and let people know that you care about them. Sometimes Death sends you non-refundable tickets in advance, sometimes he just shows up with the limo. (Pardon the irreverence, it's just how I'm wired.)

To all my friends out there, know that you are in my thoughts more often than I could possibly let you know (without coming across as a weirdo stalker). *HUGS*


Summer said...

I've often pondered that same thought. While I would want to say goodbye to my friends and family I don't want to suffer and vice versa. In the end I think that death is much harder on the survivors. We miss them everyday and long for more time with them. I'm sorry about the loss of your friend. He was definatly too young and still had many more years.

changejunkie said...

Hugs back to you. Loss is hard, I think, and it really doesn't matter whether you prepare or not. A hole in your life is a hole in your life. I think the best you can do is what you said -- live a full life and let people know how much they mean to you.

Cobwebs said...

Years ago when I worked at Disneyland, one of the secretaries I knew dropped dead one day of a brain aneurysm. She was 23 and a newlywed. I spent the next month pausing every so often and thinking, "Holy crud." Nothing makes you appreciate life like watching someone else lose theirs unexpectedly.

I don't know if there's ever any good way to exit, but I do think that at least a little time to get used to the idea is probably less of a shock on everybody's system. The totally-out-of-the-blue thing sucks.

My sympathies for the loss of your friend.

barbie2be said...

death is never an easy thing to think about. sometimes i think that a sudden unexpected death is easier for the surviors. if the person has lived a full life. i don't even like to think about the loss of a child.

i'm sorry for the loss of your friend.

briwei said...

Sixty-two is WAY too young to die if the person is leading an otherwise healthy life. That royally sucks. Sorry to hear.