I believe death is a beginning. We all know of someone who has died. It may have been a friend of a friend or a close loved one, but we have all been reminded that death affects thousands of people every day.
When I was ten years old, I remember hearing the phone ring in the middle of the night and seconds later hearing the sound of my mother crying over the news that her dad had just died. For my mom that moment was the beginning of life without her dad. For me it was the beginning of a deeper understanding and appreciation for the women I called Mom. As I watched her deal with her grief over the next few weeks, I gained a respect for the silent strength that she possessed and knew that I wanted to find that strength in my self.
When I was sixteen years old, I remember going to school and hearing the news that a classmate had been killed in a car accident. Her car had hit some loose gravel, spun off the road and hit a tree. Having known this classmate in name only meant there was no real grief for me, but it was the beginning of a new understanding that I did not know what tomorrow would bring. From that day forward I felt the need to appreciated each day and never take a moment for granted.
When I was twenty-nine years old, I lost my husband of seven years to pulmonary fibrosis. It was a difficult death filled with promises of lung transplants and ultimately the decision to stop life support. That moment was not only the end of life as I had known it, but the beginning of a new life which I was not sure I was ready for. Reflecting back on previous beginnings, I realized that I had appreciated every day that my husband and I had shared together. We had not taken one moment for granted, but had lived each day to its fullest. As weeks turned into months and months into years I also realized that I too possessed the silent strength that my Mom had shown. Life did not move on without its bruises, bumps and scrapes, but it was a new beginning.
Death may be the end of a life as we know it, but it is also a new beginning for those who are left behind. How each person begins that new life can only be decided by them.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.