#Death: Why Do We Have To Be There Before Some Choose To Care?

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Whenever someone passes away, I can pretty much count on someone saying, “Life is short. Cherish your life and those around you, because tomorrow isn’t promised,” or something to that effect.

I’m going to be blunt here. Sometimes I roll my eyes when I see or hear that. Not because they’re bad sentiments or untrue, because they’re not either. And I certainly want to be respectful of and sensitive to what the person is going through.

My thoughts are simply this…

Why does it take DEATH to make us care?

My mild annoyance with this is because it’s not as if death is a concept that escapes us or is something we don’t understand. I am certainly not talking about a nine-year-old who is going through it for the first time when losing a loved one. I mean we as adults who have experienced it at least once, or at least are intelligent enough to understand the permanence of death and what that means to those of us still living.

Again, I’m not knocking the concept of “living life to the fullest” or “appreciating our friends/family while they’re here” or that “tomorrow isn’t promised” and all. This isn’t about that. It’s just that I don’t get why it takes a death to bring us back here.

Then again, I DO get it. It’s because we don’t care. At least not ENOUGH. And in some cases, not until we HAVE to.

And that’s incredibly sad to me.

It’s the same as how we can ALL seem to find time to make a trip to anywhere around the country at practically a moment’s notice for a funeral, but until then, we barely say two words to family members, even the ones we all of a sudden want to show love for once they’ve passed away.

I can understand how emotional we become when we lose someone. And yes, I also get that much of what’s said is largely just reminders that come to our hearts a lot quicker, especially after that loss, but that’s still my issue. Even not having gone through it at that very moment, it really shouldn’t be something we can’t think more of ourselves.

I’m no saint or perfect man by any means, but when I see some of the things people choose to spend the precious time in their lives concerned with, I scratch my head. And please save the “People can do what they want” speech. I get it. That doesn’t mean I still can’t scratch my head about it. Not because I don’t agree, because I really don’t expect to and nobody owes me that, but that those more precious aspects of our lives are what we spend little time on until we HAVE to, but again, by then, it is often too late.

And don’t beat me up too much about this. Because I’m guilty of it myself at times. So I’m not “above” anybody.

We all need reminders of this and that from time to time. I get that. But it saddens me that sometimes, those reminders don’t come to some of us until this permanent absence occurs.

As a writer, something else that has also perplexed me. We hear stories all the time of how famous poets and other artists and their work did not actually become famous until their deaths. What exactly is it about being dead that makes someone or their work more appealing? Just like with our friends and family members, is it sort of “trendy” to care more about someone after they’ve passed away?

A similar concept is when a man or woman feels they are hit on more once they are “off the market” than when they were single. A lot of other factors could come into play, but what makes someone more appealing when they are no longer romantically available?

A lot of people out there ironically roll their own eyes whenever people talk about being thankful, or cherishing life, etc., when nothing bad has happened to them, at least that is known to everyone else. I’ve seen people complain so much on social media about people being “too” happy, or “faking” it and everything else. But yet, when something bad happens and these are their attitudes, it seems to be okay. Or when the ones complaining choose to do it, everyone has to just accept it.

So what exactly annoys people about a person being thankful and happy about their lives that didn’t require someone to have to die first? Why does the death make that attitude more “acceptable” by society?

I know. When it comes to social media, many folks need validation for this or that. They’re looking for “likes,” “shares,” retweets” and everything else. Society largely complains, so you’ll tend to get more of these if you do that. If you choose the unpopular route of being happy about your life, you won’t. So that’s what people tend to lean more toward.

If you knew you would die tomorrow, what would you do TODAY? If you knew a loved one was to die tomorrow, what would you say to them TODAY?

And quite frankly, I couldn’t care less if you roll your eyes and me asking those. Because if either of them came to pass, neither you nor your loved ones would rolling eyes then.

Some believe we shouldn’t hold grudges. I’ve sadly known of MANY people who have all the way up until someone died; in which case, they forgave them.

Why? What the hell did that do? Was it to clear your own conscience? Was death seriously the ONLY way you could forgive the person? What specifically did they do in dying that led to your forgiveness?

I get it. A lot of us don’t like to hear and read all that “garbage” about loving your life and being thankful and blah blah blah, right?

So I ask again…what makes all this acceptable, or at least more tolerable after someone has died?

Our former pastor from when we lived in North Carolina said something in a sermon that made perfect sense to me. In so many words, he said that we are far from stupid. We don’t do bad or wrong because we don’t know any better. We do. He said that we often know EXACTLY what we need to do in certain aspects of our lives, but we just choose not to do them. And vice versa. Conscious choices are being MADE and not due to ignorance.

It’s like speeding on the road. I don’t care what other people do. YOU know what the speed limit sign says. You don’t speed because you aren’t aware.

And if you’re on a diet and you know you aren’t supposed to eat this or that, yet you choose to do it, that’s not due to ignorance. You’re making the choice to eat whatever it was.

People love to throw around having “rights” and “freedom” to do everything. Well, yes…we have all that. But what comes with that are also consequences. And if your mind is more on being able to tell everyone you have the “right” to do this and that more than they are on the ramifications of said actions, then you have some problems.

As I stated above, death is not a concept that escapes us. Many of us are FULLY aware of what this means. So what I conclude is that people sadly just…don’t care enough when they should. And to make up for it, they care long after it makes a real difference.

It’s like if your house was on fire and it burns to the ground. Once the fire is out and there are no sign of flames anywhere, running around with a hose or fire extinguisher does nothing. The damage has already been done.

You may say that that’s not the best example. Well, you could always stop the fire before it gets out of hand. Or better yet, pay closer attention to things so that the fire doesn’t start to begin with. That’s where the connection comes from. We have to pay closer and better attention to those we love long before they leave us.

Just like fires are often unpredictable, so is death. We are truly NOT promised tomorrow. That doesn’t mean we need to run around and saying “I love you” to people every five seconds. But if a person’s death leads to it being among the first few times you’ve EVER said it, then something is wrong.

Is it “comfort” thing? Are we somehow more comfortable in forgiving or stating that we love someone when they can no longer respond? Well I don’t understand that one, either.

My honest opinion is again, that we simply don’t care. At least not as we much as we should. Or even WHEN we should.

I cannot make anyone care about someone enough before they die. But wouldn’t it make more sense to show someone that you care when they are actually in a position to FEEL it?

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