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One year ago today, my first-born left his earthly life behind to begin anew in the mystery we call “death.” My faith assures me that all is well, even as I grieve, even as I know none of us has the answer to what lies in the Beyond.
Perhaps, as some believe, there is nothing. Or perhaps Martin has already been reborn as someone else, to work through previous incarnations. Perhaps even as I labored to bring him into this world, another mother somewhere was grieving his death. The answer is, We just don’t know.
And so I rely on my faith, on the knowledge that each of us is unique, and my belief that our uniqueness is purposeful, and that it transcends death. I believe that somewhere, in some way, Martin exists. And I also believe – maybe “hope” is a better word – that when my time comes to leave this Earth, I will find him waiting, ready to show me around the Afterlife. He was always a wonderful tour guide, after all.
In the meantime, I console myself with the knowledge that molecules of Martin surround me. He’s in the air that I breathe and the water I drink. He isn’t gone completely away. And, of course, he lives forever in my heart and mind.
As I write these words, I’ve just hung up the phone with the wife of a man I’ve known since he was a small child. He’ not related by blood, but by marriage, and he’s actively dying. He’s in his early 50s – a contemporary of Martin’s, and was his friend
This young man is actively dying of cancer – hours or days, but not weeks. So, even as I grieve my own child, another mom is looking down that dark road, a woman I know is trying to prepare herself for the unimaginable. A wife, a child, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends – all are facing the loss of someone dear to them.
Men, please take care of your health. Regular doctor visits are imperative. Women get into that routine early in life; men tend to put it off. Don’t do that. Have a thorough physical once a year. See your doctor about unexplained pains, or anything that seems unusual. Cancer is an insidious disease, but most can be treated if caught early enough. Not all of them, but most.
Don’t put your parents, your spouse, children, relatives, friends, through this grief. Love them enough to take care of yourself. You don’t realize how much they’ll suffer if the worst happens. You aren’t bullet-proof. None of us is.