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View Diary: The Five Biggest Regrets of the Dying (258 comments)

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    Every day you're alive, you creep closer to death
    That struck me when I was a child and the ban on speaking about it puzzled me. It's a pretty big thing. Why did we speak of it in hushed and horrified tones. understood we'd miss the people but it isn't like death happened only to the unlucky few!
    I remember getting in trouble with my parents a for asking older relatives their thoughts about dying. (I guess it is rude as I was pointing out they didn't have that many years left on earth, but still. The grandparents etc didn't seem to mind the questions at all)
    I remember lines of a poem I wrote before junior high...
    from the day our birth announced us
    our death has been assured

    just do the best you can with the cards you're dealt.
    Just do thge best you can. We say that a lot in our family. Well we actually say "Just doa the besta you can" which is the same thing with a heavy Italian accent in honor of my very Italian grandmother who use to say that in summary of her advice or encouragement.
    She died a few years ago at age 96... and that was sort of a story of the circle of life. The story of the pallbearer groom...
    Grandma was pretty senile the last couple years of her life but always seemed to find some clarity when my son would come cross country to visit her. She told him she would be at her wedding which seemed impossible...

    But perhaps she was. She did just a few days before the wedding and her church only had thew wedding day free for the funeral. He was grief stricken but also worried about his bride to be who had been one of those brides to be who worried about every detail and got upset when anything went wrong. He wanted her to continue her plans as usual, keep her wedding morning appointments.

    The big church was filled for the funeral except for the row behind the pallbearers. A tall, slim woman dressed in black dress and veil caught all eyes as she walked in and sat in that empty row. At some point when my son had his head down and his shoulders were quivering in the fight not to sob she touched his shoulder. When he turned and saw her his face changed like when a distressed baby gets his pacifier... a relief, release, a peace. He got up and sat beside her and often held him.
    Oh did she ever win my heart in those moments.
    Afterwards he was thanking her for coming and so on and she spoke so strongly about there was no other place she'd want to be. He mentioned some things she'd had planned and how he didn't want her plans ruined.
    She just sounded so strong when she was saying nothing else mattered now... and I recall her saying something like "I'm Irish, you're Italian. It couldn't work as well without some crisis now and then"

    Then the wedding... it was sort of enriched by that morning grief. Every look, every word was heightened. People who didn't know the story even felt that power...
    The side of the family that had been at the funeral found some deep healing in the wedding and then the laughter and celebratory communing of the reception.

    and they weren't done. Their honeymoon plans had already included a stop in her home town in Italy and that turned out to be pretty rich too... but long stories.
    I'll mention one of them... they stopped in nearby towns looking for directions. Everything was closed, no one was around... and then they heard the sound of a procession... a parade, with crosses and lights and they were chanting. Every now and then they would stop their march and stomp their foot in unison and call out "MARIA!"

    Maria was my grandmothers name and they were dumbfounded...
    though as it turns out Mary (Maria) is the star of their May Day celebration, a big national holiday.

    Their is life and there is death, we celebrate, we mourn, we laugh and cry and dance
    We do the best we can.

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