It seems like life changes in stages. You graduate from college and you enter the diaspora stage, where your friends scatter to the four winds. Then wedding season hits, with trips to places for celebrations. Next is baby season where you learn about all the things made for humans under one year old.
At some point in your life, other things start happening with more frequency. Miscarriages, divorce, illness, death. It is a natural part of the cycle of life, yet nothing really prepares you for it. You just wake up one morning and realize that most of your thoughts are about the downside of life, not the upside.
This does not necessarily mean that you are “down” or “up.” How we treat these parts of our lives depends both on society and ourselves. Western civilization has tried to push back death. Mourning periods used to be six months to a year. Now they last two hours, if a funeral is held. Many times it is called a “celebration” of life, so not even that is necessarily mourning.
Our medical advances has made death harder and longer. We are dealing with the consequences of extended lifespan, and if you have anything to do with health care, you have a good idea of how costly care is towards the end of life. To come back to the point of this post, it also extends how long family and loved ones deal with end-of-life.
I haven’t adjusted yet to the increase of death and illness in my life. I know from talking with others more advanced in years that it eventually becomes normal. Never pleasant, just not an unfamiliar experience.
So I sit here between adjustment and non-adjustment wondering if I want to cross to the other side. Do I want illness and death to be normal or do I want to embrace the struggle and difficulty of each occurrence? I have no answer right now, and I’d rather go to a wedding.