Wednesday, October 11, 2006

"DEATH COMES UNEXPECTEDLY!"

"And the God, Jehovah will execute His vengeance on ye who despise His Thine love and trample it underfoot."

This was the beginning of Karl Malden's sermon in Pollyanna. The "God, Jehovah" part means nothing. I just wanted to prove I could quote it. Oddly enough, that sermon was my favorite part of the whole movie. I was a weird kid.

There are several couples of Jethro's and my acquaintance who are having marital issues as we speak. I would never presume to act as if I know who is right and wrong in any given situation. I have my opinions, no question, but I hope I've learned enough in 30 years to know that my opinions don't mean shit when it comes to someone's personal life.

But this is what I do know.

DEATH COMES UNEXPECTEDLY.

And when it does, we'd give anything for one more day, hour, or even minute with the ones we love. And even then, the only thing we care about is that they know how much we love them.

I remember when my grandmother was dying of lung cancer. She was on oxygen and under pretty heavy sedation. Her eyes would flutter open once every few hours. Every time, whoever was closest would rush over and tell her they loved her. No one would say, "Why didn't you quit smoking?" or "Why didn't you finish that painting?" or "Why did you marry that man who beat the shit out of me?"

Life is brief, and no one is perfect. No one. Everyone makes mistakes. Huge, horrible, ghastly mistakes. But if you had one last minute with anyone you love, would they really make a difference?

If I had one more minute with my dad, I wouldn't be telling him how insane his parenting tactics were and he wouldn't be telling me what a wretchedly difficult child I was. I'd hold him and he'd hold me. I'd tell him of the good things and he'd tell me he was proud of me. He'd know I'd forgiven his heavy-handedness and I'd know he'd forgiven my stubborness and bad temper. I'd be at peace and he'd be at peace. And nothing would matter then but love.

1 comment:

Annie said...

Oh my...this soooo deserves a comment. For it to be sitting out here in cyber-space, alone without anyone commenting? Dreadful.

You write beautifully, Zelda. I'm blog-surfing tonight (one of my most recent favorite-things-to-do-so-I-get-very-little sleep) and somehow I landed here.

Your observations kinda remind me of Anne Lamott's in a way. Have you ever read her work? Bird-by-Bird is about the writing life...and she throws in the f-word like you do.

But you have great heart here when you write about what one would say to someone who is dying. It touched me deeply. Thank you so much.

I'll be back!