Sunday, April 10, 2011

Connected Mortality/The Five People You Meet in Heaven

Recently, a girl at my school lost her mother. Her mother had been battling a disease for a long time, and finally the time had come. To show our support for her, many students, including myself, went to her funeral. The sight was beautiful. There were hundreds of people there, one coming as far as Spain. You could tell everyone loved her. The funeral was also beautiful in that the family had such strong faith and beliefs, that no one appeared sad or mournful, but instead celebrated her life and how she touched everyone. I had never met this women, but yet we all felt connected to her.

We have all played the same scenario in our head. We all wonder what it would be like if we passed away and were able to observe the outcome. We are interested in who we affected enough, or who cared for us enough, to come to our funeral. Who would cry, who would not care, who would celebrate our life, and who would mourn it. We all want to feel like we have affected everybody around us enough, that when we are gone they still remember us and care. It is why people give farewell speeches to their peers before they leave for college, or why we desperately try to make a name for ourselves before we move on. It is all due to the  human fear of being forgotten. None of us want to be forgotten, for once we are gone, memories are all people have of us.

I recently finished a book called "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" by Mitch Albom. The book deals with a man's death and the five lessons he learns after he passes away from five people who he affected in his life. The beauty though is, he did not even know who three of them were. One of the first lessons he learns is from a man he unconsciously caused the death of. The lesson he teaches the character is we are all connected.

"My funeral," the Blue Man said. "Look at the mourners. Some did not even know me well, yet they came. Why? Did you ever wonder? Why people gather when others die? Why people feel they should? It is because the human spirit knows, deep down, that all lives intersect. That death doesn't just take someone, it misses someone else, and in the small distance between being taken and being missed, lives are changed."

I am not a religious man. I never have been, and do not plan on being one. I do believe though that we are all connected by something. Humans I think have an energy that connects us all. Hence why we feel for others we, or we are drawn to a funeral for a woman we barely know. Though we went to that funeral to show support for her daughter, we all left feeling connected to her mother. My uncle passed away before I could start forming memories, and to this day I still feel like he is "here." I know he is gone, and has been for some time, but he has had an impact on me, even though I did not really know him. We are all connected in some way. We all impact each other. It might be big, or something as small as dropping a penny someone picks up later. We might not be aware of our impacts on each other, but in the end we never die. We pass on to somewhere else, but never less how small or unimpressive it was, we all have an impact on each other and are connected. We are never forgotten, just missed.


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