Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Life, Death, and Everything in Between

With Aunt Marsha when I was 2.
I recently learned that my great aunt passed away at her home in San Bernardino, California. Aunt Marsha, as we called her, was a kind and warm woman who would do anything for those she loved. When my dad was young, he and his mother (my grandmother) lived with Aunt Marsha and her husband, Robbie, in San Bernardino, California. She was like a second mother to him.

Since we lived pretty far away from Aunt Marsha, I only saw her a few times in my life. The first time when I was two, the second when I was 5, and the third, two years ago, when I went down to check on her with my dad after Uncle Robbie passed away.

Aunt Marsha was a good woman and I will never forget her.

I just want the world to know that.

Although the struggle of coming to terms with our own mortality is as old as time itself, it is the single most difficult thing we can ever do. In the United States, it seems that rather than face it, we turn away from it and act as if we will live forever—often leading us down a road filled with shallowness and vanity.

In Colombia, life and death are in a constant state of flux and the certainty of uncertainty gives people no choice but to stare mortality in the face. Living among Colombians these many months, I have come to appreciate their outlook—that life is so brief, and death so permanent that we cannot afford to squander the precious time we are afforded.

Plan for tomorrow, but live for today.

I like the sound of that.

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