“Death, The Final Frontier”

Death, the final frontier.                                                                                                                               To boldly go where all men must.                                                                                                       To cross over into the Light of Life Everlasting                                                                    Leaving behind the memories                                                                                                                 of a life well lived or perhaps never lived at all…   JS

wpid-img_51810649725547Death, the ultimate finale. The cessation of life. Whether you’re the richest of men or the poorest, the happiest or the loneliest, death does not discriminate. Eventually it comes for us all. When your number is up, it is up, your life ends.There is nowhere you can hide, nowhere you can escape to when the Grim Reaper comes a calling. There’s not a thing you can do but die. Death is inevitable. 

Are you ready for the inevitable? When your time comes will you be ready to go? I doubt it. I don’t think anyone is ever really ready to go. Oh sure if you know you are dying you can make your peace with life and those close to you and accept the fact that you are about to die, but truth be told, if there was a way to prolong your life you’d be all over it and you know it. No one wants to die and cling to hope until the very last moment.

Even Jesus  whose entire life was about fulfilling scripture and dying  for our redemption had His doubts in those last days and final moments. If the Son of God had his doubts  you know damn well that we all have them. We all want to go on living and when we do go we want to go painlessly. We want death to come for us like a thief in the night and take us while we sleep. no pain or suffering, no long bouts with cancer or some other deadly disease or illness, just go to bed one night and simply wake up dead! That’s certainly how I want to go, but I have a feeling God has something else in mind for me. With my roller coaster existence I’m sure it will be a doozy! 

So why all this doom and gloom talk about death? Well I attended yet another funeral last week, the seventh I’ve been to in four months. Of the seven, three of the deceased led long lives and were in their late 80’s. The others were 46, 56, 60 and the most recent 62, my age. His name was Manuel Valenzuela and though we both went to Azusa High School and graduated the same year I didn’t really know him all that well. We shared some mutual friends, but we ran with different crowds so we were never really close, but we always friendly when we saw one another.

I did know his wife Olga however. We grew up together in Azusa. She and her two sisters lived next door to my cousins on Angeleno Ave and we spent a lot of time playing there together when we were kids. But during our high school we attended different schools and all sort of went our own way, but I have always considered her a friend. It broke my heart to see her in so much pain. I wanted so much to offer her some words that might bring her some degree of comfort but could think of nothing to say. They had been married for nearly as long as my wife and I and now her partner is gone. I can’t imagine what that must feel like. I can’t begin to understand the sense of loss she is experiencing and the emptiness she must be feeling. I grieved when my mother passed away, it was painful, but not nearly as painful as I imagine losing your spouse, your life mate with whom you’ve shared so many years of your life must be.

imagesManuel is gone. He has been set free of his earthly pain and is at peace. He’s probably up there right now banging on a bass guitar in some celestial quartet, forever young or dancing with the angels! Yeah, I could see that. Sadly it is those left behind, his wife, family and circle of friends who mourn his passing and bear the weight of his loss. I wish there was something I could do to help ease the pain. I can only pray for them and hope that God grants them the strength to deal with their sorrow. I ask that you say a prayer for them as well. Manuel lives on in the hearts and memories of those whose lives he touched. And memories last forever…

JS 

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