To live and enjoy your own life, you have to willingly understand and accept the reality of death.
This photograph of a sweet,relaxed great-grandmother in her nineties was taken by Jane Nannono.
Two weeks ago I retired to bed around 11:00 pm fit as a fiddle. I was happy I had at least completed two of the big tasks I had set out to do that morning. This was a great achievement compared to how things run around here.
To my great shock and surprise, by the time I woke up at 7:30 am the following day, I failed to lift my head off the pillow and my lower back hurt . A quick assessment of the body systems confirmed that I could take a deep breath easily, lift both legs and move them in various directions. I struggled for about fifteen minutes to sit up in bed .This had never happened to me before but then there is always a first time for everything. Finally I got out of bed ,walked to the bathroom and gave myself a long, hot soak in the bathtub. It helped to reduce the back pain. Knowing what I had lined up to do on the laptop for the day, I had to take some simple painkillers.
The nagging back pain demanded that I made an appointment to see a surgeon before the end of the day. By 6:30 pm, the surgeon was giving me a thorough check up then he tried to localize the pain along the vertebral column.It turned out to be muscle pain and we both agreed it had to do with the many frequent trips that I had made to the village during the last three weeks. He prescribed me some pain killers, an inflammatory gel and some physiotherapy exercises. For the following three days, I undertook the physiotherapy exercises but hardly worked on the laptop. I had first to get well to continue with the writing. This is when it hit me that many times we take things for granted: you think you would wake up the following day and get on with your to-do list. The time I spent home reminded me of my mortality and I seized the opportunity to read around life and death. It helped me to appreciate the progress of life from health and vitality in youth to infirmity and weakness in old age.
Life and death are said to be two sides of the same coin. Accepting the inevitability of death helps you create meaning to your own life. Close brushes with death, help you recognize how precious life is and you clearly begin to determine what really matters in life. You learn to give up and let go of everything that no longer serves your life’s journey. From this moment on, you live your life like a marathon runner who begins with the end in mind and then plans the race accordingly. The psychologists also tell us that all the losses suffered in life serve to prepare us for death. So we should learn to die well by developing the ability to accept all life’s losses and disappointments. If we learn this, then we stand a chance of enjoying living our lives.
Mark Twain said: “ A man who lives fully is prepared to die any time.’’
For a few of us, close encounters with death render us so powerless that we give up on life. The psychologists then remind us that what we deny in our conscious minds will possess us. It would take a lot of courage and counselling to get such people to own what owns them. Once they do this, they open themselves up to the possibility of living purposeful lives. They will recognize the greatest irony of life: that death is the source of life.
Kahlil Gibran said: “For life and death are one, even as the river and sea are one.”
Since then, the back pain has cleared and I have resumed my normal routine. Each time I wake up every morning and I am up and about, I thank God for the gift of life. As every gift has a responsibility attached to it, the gift of life demands that I use the time to become the best person I can be and to do much more for myself and for the common good.
Thank you for reading this post. May it inspire you to live a purposeful life. I would be grateful if you left a comment about it, shared it with family and friends. I would love to learn how close brushes with death transformed your life.
4 thoughts on “The Things We Take For Granted 11”
Good to see your post again after sometime. The grandmother in the picture looks like the one I met at Mrs. Kisumba’s house last year! Am I right? Thought you were going to write about her!
Still in Uganda? I am out of town starting April 2 bu should be back end of April. Let’s do the writing skill I proposed months ago! Remind me what it was. Semi colon?
Harriet. I appreciate your comment. You are right;that is Jajja. I am around and will make time to connect with you for the writing skill. Thank you.
Hi Jane, for April, I am in Florida. So let’s stay in touch so as to meet up in May for your writing skills needs.
So glad I get your posts via FB.
Thanks for the beautiful writing and the photo. The photo reminded me of our Maama Abigail and her mother jaaja Kyankowe when I was growing up, they had beauty like jaaja Naome.
Talking about your struggle of siting up and getting out of bed, I have reflected about my life for the first time I failed to attend the Easter Sunday Service on 31/3/2018. On 30th March it was our beloved son John’s 9th memorial anniversary, it rained on that day and I visited his resting place stepped in mud as a result I had a bad fall and bruised my ribs.Thank God I am getting better. On my way back home I stopped at a spot where a young man of 20 years old was killed on 6/3/2018, I read the messages left by his family and friends. It is very sad and devastating said to myself what a waste of life: Knife crime in London is a big issue mainly for black young men/gangs who are killing and stabbing themselves, they do not value life statistics indicate that 50 people have died since beginning of this year. One has to appreciate the opportunities, happiness achieved, being healthy and not take life for granted as you say that there is life and there is death which cannot be avoided.
Have a good day.