The little purple PT vibes down North West Highway, as Bubbie and I make our way to a shopping session at the mall. I'm sure there was some sort of music bumping, probably Gucci Mane or one of his homies, as we cruised along in the center lane. Bubbie may not have been a die hard fan, but she still Bubbie bumped to the beat even better than myself. And sorry...vocab is important here. We weren't actually cruising. It was more like snailing, because in a moment of extremely poor judgment, I agreed to let the Bubster play the role of captain in this particular show. This would be the last time that call was made. Imagine going 20, maybe 25 MPH, with Bubbie pushed all the way up to the steering wheel, trying her best to even see over the top. From now on, I’d play chauffeur and she'd play passenger/front seat driver as we shuffled back and forth, from her hood to ours, to weekend dinners, and of course...the routine dentist appointments. And it's important to note, that this ALWAYS happened in the PT, because that was the only one of the Lynn fleet vehicles that the Bubster could get into comfortably. The others were either like falling off a cliff into the abyss of the front seat, or ascending Everest. It was just dangerous for her to send it!
We could, and will, spend endless hours replaying old Bubbie memories. But right now, I’d like to talk about something רציני, which means serious in Hebrew. This is something most people aren't thinking about, and almost certainly not talking about, but that has the power to change our world's in the flip of a switch. While funerals are usually gloomy, and never well anticipated events, they do bring death and all of its glory to center stage.
On the flight home, I was reading through chapter “contemplating death" in the book “the untethered soul” by Michael Singer, when it hit me in the face I needed to say a few words, or maybe even a few paragraphs, at the service. There was no better topic than this. It affected me to the point where, even over the duration of the flight, I focused more intensely on my breath because it really could be the last.
So here it goes. The idea is that, in our worldy worlds today, living awake versus living aware is too often neglected. The issue here is, in short, just going through the motions because you're not asleep, or really being aware and present. The whole thing about being aware and present, is how much more tuned in you are to the fragility of life itself and how temporary the physical world actually is. The contemplation of death flows smoothly into this discussion. When someone steps into the death scenario role play, life get real. Perspective and priorities change, problems become irrelevant, and experiencing the moment becomes so much more clear.
Think about it like this. Life is a path where the destination, in this case death, is unknown. It could be right after someone begins to crawl their way forward as a baby or learns how to walk through the next section. Or maybe the end shows up as they begin a light jog. Now the person is running and hits stride in tip top shape. Boom, all of a sudden, they've arrived and there's no more trail to run. They begin trying to backtrack, but look down and realize their feet have been cemented in place. It's too late to do things different.
This analogy can teach us several different lessons. First, you never know when you're time will be up. Death doesn't send a save the date, so accepting that you do have a date, is just part of the journey.
Now in contrast, death is what gives meaning to life itself. Because life is a finite resource, we have to live like we only live once, because that's just how the game works.
The last and most important takeaway is how we experience this journey. At the first river crossing do we turn around, board the ferry, or challenge ourselves by learning how to swim? Are we looking around soaking up the nature, or looking back after a ½ mile with no recollection of the beauty surrounding us? When we hit a detour, is it turned into an opportunity to grow or is it nothing more than a stupid inconvenience?
A funeral is a memorial, as well as a celebration of the lives our loved ones have lived. It is a reinforcement that loving our loved ones, like it's the last time we may see them, should be part of our personal life philosophies. But it's also a much needed reminder that life isn't ours. It's on loan from death and he could come collect at any time.
And back from the intermission comes Bubbie. I'm just relieved her last breath was peaceful. She would've wanted the last act to be a little bit more dramatic, but fortunately there was a higher power than even The Great Ada Lynn at work here. Bubbie I love you and will miss you always.