Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Death is the Great Equalizer

Military cemeteries have a much different appearance than civilian cemeteries. Each tombstone looks alike, engraved with name, rank, branch of service, wars served, dates of birth and death. Some of the newer tombstones also contain a few words like, "Beloved husband and father."

Maybe the military recognizes one of the realities of death. Death is the great equalizer. In death, we are all alike. Whether you're a prince or a pauper in life, death will eventually come knocking at your door.

You may be sipping champagne and nibbling on caviar-topped crackers or begging for food scraps on a street corner during life, but when death comes to call, the result is the same.

Whether you've spent your life doing good deeds and helping others or hurting everyone in your life as you reap a path of destruction, death is your final earthly reward.

Unlike many journeys taken in life, the final journey toward the unknown is taken alone. Although family may be gathered around the bedside, the last few steps are a solitary journey.

Stories of near-death experiences have been written by people young and old. A light at the end of the tunnel, a man dressed in a long, flowing gown and feelings of peace are among the experiences shared.

Death may come peacefully in the middle of a winter night or in the sunlight of a bright summer day. Each of us lives life according to our own desires, but we have little control over the final chapter of the book.

No matter what a person's life experiences have been, there's no good way to prepare for death. Making peace with the past, mending fences and saying good-bye to loved ones helps ease the burden for those left behind and may offer peace of mind for a dying person, but it won't change the inevitable.

In the end, the kindnesses performed in life will be remembered long after death. The joy of the memories made in life will remain even after the sharp, blinding pain of loss becomes a permanent dull ache.

In death, we leave behind the trappings of life but sometimes small reminders of life are left by those who mourn the loss.

Like a monster from childhood, death lurks under the bed, behind the closet door or in a dark alley, waiting quietly and patiently for just the right moment to snuff out life.

Death is not fair, especially the death of someone you love. Death takes the young and the old, the cherished and the forgotten, the loved and the despised.

No matter how we fight against it, death comes to us all eventually. Death leaves behind a void that can only be filled with memories. As the sun sets on the life of a loved one, hold on to the memories.

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