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The Lesson of Life through Death

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To understand, you’d have to be a part of it.
In my family, to honor those who have passed on is to find humor in what’s left behind. It’s to let out a sigh of relief because they’ll never know about your slight brush with the law. It’s to assume they won’t miss some of the old keepsakes that haven’t been truly touched in years, because they won’t be around to move them from dusty shelf to dusty shelf. It’s also to pull the others left behind along with us; to remind them that yes, we will one day see our loved one again. But for right now, it’s okay to talk about those odd habits no one quite ever understood. They’ve shaped who I am, and to know what they are is to truly know me.

When my grandpa died almost four years ago, I never truly knew the impact he’d had on the lives of those around him, mine largely included. In going through his things, we found countless items that represented countless memories of his, most of which we never really knew he had. My “Papa,” as we called him, had an incredible sense of humor. A military man that sometimes seemed rough around the edges just like me, not many warmed up to my Papa quickly, but once that was overlooked, an incredible man, filled with kindness and love, was seen.

Over 500 people attended the funeral and luncheon. By the end of lunch, more people were shedding tears due to laughter than tears due to sadness. There laid a man filled with optimism, generosity recognized by all, and I no sooner realized that this was the impact I aspire to have on others as well. What started out as a simple laugh to break the sadness soon turned into a method of grieving that I hold dear to my heart.
It was through this period of death in my life that I learned how to look at experiences differently. Not only do I now try and look at negative situations more lightly, but I also feel like I have gained the ability to appreciate life even when times are tough. While ironic, that’s a trait that I will carry with me for a very long time, because to smile and be grateful for is to show strength.
Never would I label myself as someone who makes a serious situation insignificant; it’s those situations that define who we are. But I’d like to differentiate myself by changing perspectives, and looking through life’s windows at different angles, usually through humor. Life is hard, no doubt about that, but it doesn't do any good to let setbacks get in the way. If I have come to realize anything about these tough situations, though, it is this: I believe that humor can save, and humor can heal almost anything.





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Minnesota Guy said...
Jan. 9, 2012 at 2:32 pm
This is really good.
 
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