Within a few days of each other, I attended the wake and funeral of a ninety one year old woman and the wake of a twenty four year old woman.  There is an obvious difference between these two situations and that difference made me think about mortality and putting life in perspective.

During the eulogy for the ninety one year old woman, you could not help but admire this woman for the exemplary life she led.  It was clear how much she touched and influenced the lives of not only her children and grandchildren with wisdom and kindness, but of the many people she helped during her career and her life.  This woman was given the opportunity to live a long, full life and was a wonderful role model to everyone around her.  She enjoyed a rich and rewarding life and she will still be missed by the many people who will cherish their memory of her.

In sharp contrast, the twenty four year old woman was at the threshold of her life when it tragically ended.  Although she touched many lives in her short time here, her family will never experience the milestones she might have enjoyed if she had lived a long life.  They will never see how she could have lived to her full potential.  This young woman was not given that opportunity and no one will ever know why.  In the eyes of her family and friends, she will be forever twenty four and will also be missed by many people.

The grieving in each situation was so very different.

This experience made me focus on my own life. It not only made me think about my own mortality but it made me think about how I live my life and whether or not I have made a positive impact in my little part of this world and the lives around me.  In thinking about my own mortality and my family I am reminded that all life must be enjoyed and cherished because it is so fragile.

On Monday, Joe provides information on Living Wills and Health Care Proxies in “Dying With Dignity”.