By Craig Funston
I got word of his death while shopping in Lethbridge the other day.” Jake (not his real name),” the caller said, “is dead,.” It wasn’t quite that blunt, but there was really no way to soften it.
I couldn’t process the news when I heard it.
In fact, I couldn’t even process the rest of my shopping, once it sunk in. I had dealt with Jake many times over the past few years, as I bought calves from his colony. In fact, I was planning on buying a few more from him when I got the call.
I guess I won’t be calling him anymore.
Jake was a normal guy who breathed, worked, and loved like the rest of us. He had a wife and kids, was faithful to his authorities, and had a good work ethic. And he knew his cows.
It was actually one of his bulls that did him in. I’m fuzzy on all the details, but the point is, he’s gone from us. His seat is empty, he’s been replaced in the barn,, Judy (not her real name) doesn’t have a husband, and his kids don’t have a daddy anymore.
At the funeral, I couldn’t understand a word they said (I don’t speak German) , but the language of sorrow knows no linguistic boundaries; it can be expressed in many ways, more than just words.
Culture, religion, and skin colour have little to do with dying. They have more to do with living, not dying, though I suppose there are certain traditions following death.that that may soften the blow.
Regardless of culture, religion, and skin colour, we are all the same underneath, and when it comes to dying, we all die. We all must pass through the portals of death. Death honours no superficial differences, no learned behaviour, no cultural nuances.
This where I carry so much pain for folks who may lean on their learned behaviour, religious rites, or colour superiority, hoping for some good will (and good results) at death. Dress code, ritualism, or any other outward distinction mean nothing at death.
At death, like birth, we are all the same. After death?– okay, there’s another column in there. Things can be a little different, depending on your faith perspective.
No one wishes death on any one, but as sure as we live, we must die. It’s something we must face. Probably in our teens and twenties, we all feel invincible. Then somewhere north of 50, reality kicks in—and death seems more and more a probable reality.
All the pills, life insurance, and healthy eating habits won’t eliminate death from our existence. Delay it, possibly; delete it, never.
Without being excessively morbid, I suggest we need to live everyday as if it was our last. What do I mean by that? I simply mean that we should keep short accounts with each other (and that includes our financial accounts), and live life to the fullest.
You know the term “bucket list,” of course. Not only was it a great movie, but an even greater concept. The two heroes (Nicholson and Freeman) knew they were going to die, so they tackled their last remaining months by doing what they had always wanted to do before they died.
Their advantage? Because, they knew when they were going to pass from this scene to the next one, they could plan to live their remaining time out to the full. .Most of us—including Jake—do not know that. Death often sneaks up on us, catches us off-guard, and mugs us like as well-trained street punk.
My focus today is simply being ready to die by knowing how to live. Another part of me wants to discuss about being ready to die by choosing life on the other side of the door of death. This faith-based perspective speaks to the life after death issue.
Those who hold this view believe there is life after death (not just before death), and that this run on planet earth is a warm-up for something much bigger, and much better (based on choices while here).
So check out your own bucket list. Look life square in the face and consider this could be your last day on earth. Jake’s was so unexpected. Enjoy life to the full, and watch out for anything—to the best of your ability—that smacks of death.
So long, Jake; I’ll miss you.