On Life and Death

Okay, don’t really want to go too deep here, but I have been thinking about such matters as I was back home in Springfield, VA today (have I mentioned my deep and abiding hatred for the traffic in Northern Virginia) for the funeral of my godfather.  He was an awesome, awesome, man.  Yes, it is super-cool that he was a Air Force Colonel and fighter pilot, but his awesomeness was in his kindness and generosity of spirit.  He (and his wonderful wife) welcomed not just me, but Kim and all our kids into his family.  And honestly, whenever I have needed to remind myself that conservative Republicans and conservative Christians (of the Catholic sort, of course, in this case) are not the enemy, but good people with a sincere difference of opinion, I would think of him (though, part of the success of our relationship was pretty much never discussing politics, but in the most oblique fashion).

So, yes, of course, it is sad that he died.  And I feel bad for his wife, daughters and grandkids who will miss out on his loving presence in their lives.  But living 84 years while staying sharp as a tack to the end and not having a long, lingering illness at the end?  That sounds pretty good to me.  A life well lived (and I learned today that he had survived presumably terminal kidney cancer twice, fifteen years apart).

Could not help, but think about the contrast with the last funeral I attended– my friend Craig Brians.  The funeral for a man in his early 50’s, who dies suddenly leaving  young children behind.  That was the saddest thing I’ve ever experienced.  Today was the celebration of a long life, well-lived.  Alas, none of gets the choice in such matters, but that is certainly what we can hope for for ourselves and our loved ones.

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