Death...at some point in our lives...we will all have to face it. Be it a pet, an acquaintance, a loved one or someone more immediate...we will all face it. With that in mind...have you thought about how you will face it? It seems like now, more than ever, I'm forcing myself to think about these scenarios.
Death is an inevitable part of life on this planet. Every day people, animals and plants die. But when it comes to you, how are you going to face it? I've been thinking about this quite a bit as of late. A lot of it is because I've been gearing up for this year's King County Camp Erin. I had Big Buddy training last Saturday in preparation for it. Over the lunch break we were able to see the folders and applications of the campers who would be in our cabins...or in my case...over sized Conestoga wagon. And as I read through each application...I found the breath leaving my body.
Death is one of those things that has the ability to stop a person in their tracks. Recently a neighbor of mine had to put their dog down. Even though I've not seen eye to eye with this person on many occasions...my heart ached for him when I noticed that he took down the kennel in his back yard. My heart sank into my stomach. It's times like this when I stop and think about Cooper. What is going to happen when he is no longer here. There is a selfish part of me that wants it to be a situation where I'm with him and for medical reasons he's being put to sleep. I say this only because I don't want Cooper to leave this world alone. I honestly don't think I'd be able to forgive myself if he closed his eyes for the last time and I wasn't there by his side.
I know it's morbid to think about these things, but it's truly a part a life. I chatted with a close friend of mine who lost the love of her life about 7 months ago. As humans we naturally try to force others to "get over it" or to "hurry up and move on." But when you are in the thick of grief, all you want to do is cry, hurt and feel the pain you are going through. While talking to her I tried hard not to give her solutions to help her with her grief. Instead I encouraged her to feel what she was feeling and to allow things to work through in their time. When you are surrounded by your own grief you feel this need to "get better" because everyone around you seems to be getting better. But in all reality, we all process grief differently, and as humans we need to respect that in each other.
As I prepare myself for the longest three day weekend of this year...I have to remember that it isn't my job to fix the problems these children are facing. It's my nature to want to help, to want to fix and make better. But in this case, it's my job to be present. While at Big Buddy training we talked about the first cabin time with our campers, and how we as Big Buddies would facilitate their first opportunity to share their stories. I remember last year being terrified about this, and I saw this in the faces of the new Big Buddies this year. My advice to them was to relax, take a breath and allow the campers to lead this. And honestly it's amazing to see how organic the entire thing is. And 9 times out of 10, you don't have to say anything...you just have to be present and listen.
Last August I wrote a post about my experience at Camp Erin as a first time Big Buddy. If you haven't read it, I encourage you to. Camp Erin 2012
I encourage all of you to look at the people in your lives, especially those who have lost someone. Have you reached out to them to let them know you are present? As someone who is suffering a loss of any kind, just knowing that people are there can mean the difference between making it through and falling into despair.
Until next time...Keep Cooking...