There is nothing on this earth harder for us to deal with than the death of a loved one. Losing family members is the worst among human experiences, and these losses stay with us a lifetime—some of the holes left in our hearts will never be filled. Having a best friend die can rock your world. It’s really hard to lose pets, too. What all these losses have in common of course, is love. We love others, and in so doing, we make ourselves hostages to their fortunes. We risk great emotional pain when we risk our hearts. We know that every living creature will die; we will die. We know this and yet the reality of death always hits us hard. We are never truly ready for that kind of heartache.
But how could we do anything else but love, and therefore, mourn when our loved ones die? A life devoid of attachments, of friendships, of family, even of pets—such a life is barely worth living, is it? You may protect yourself from pain by living in a bubble, but you also deny yourself joy, and that soul deep heavenly manna of loving, and being loved.
We were created to love. We were created to feel. We were never meant to live our lives in isolation, apart, lonely and alone. We were created to live with others, to connect with others. When you meet that one person who reaches you, touches you, and who you believe you’re meant to spend the rest your life with—a miracle happens. Two people unite their hearts and minds and souls, and become so much more than just two individual human beings. The whole they create truly is greater than the sum of their parts. Even just the two of them, together, they become a family.
The family is the basis of our societal structure for a reason. Any kind of human creation be it physical or otherwise, needs a strong, unshakable base. That, in essence, is what the family is to society. It is the base, it is the foundation, and yes, it is also the beneficiary of the society and the institutions it braces.
We create our institutions to serve us—to serve people, and most usually, people living in families.
No matter how many times you suffer the loss of those you love—be they family or friends or yes, even pets, it never gets easier. And I think it really shouldn’t get easier. People should matter to us, relationships should matter to us, not only in the day to day of living—their passing should matter to us, too. But it still hurts. The pain of loss cuts deeper than any other emotional pain we can suffer.
Knowing this, we could avoid that pain. We could choose to live a more sterile existence. We could keep our walls high, and some people do just that. They close themselves off from making new friends, or even from forming closer attachments to their family members so they can’t be hurt so badly when they die.
I know a lot of people who refuse to have pets for the simple reason that pets die. I understand that choice, but it makes me sad. You deny yourself the unconditional love a dog will give you when you don’t allow yourself to have one. You deny yourself hours of contentment you receive from cradling a purring cat, when you refuse to have one, just to avoid the pain of losing it.
That is, as I said, one choice you could make on how to live. But there’s another, and in my mind, better way to live.
You could say to hell with being cautious. You can choose to live a full life, rich with experiences and love, rich with every emotion under the sun. Laugh with your whole body; cry when your heart breaks; celebrate when you win some of life’s battles. Breathe deeply, savor the flavors, live your life as if every single day is the most precious gift you will ever receive.
Because, guess what? It is.
Seize the day. There will be tragedy, but also triumph. There will be sadness, but also great joy. And really, experiencing the former allows you to recognize and cherish the latter. Sadness and tragedy make joy and triumph all that much sweeter.
Life is for living and laughing and loving. Work hard. Do what’s right. Live with no regrets.