A quaint phrase, my title. Almost cliche. Almost.
Last week, I attended the funeral of my 53 year old aunt. Married to my mother's brother, she wasn't a blood relative, but nonetheless, she's been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.
She had been battling ovarian cancer for around 10 years, and as it does, cancer took the final round. She didn't want a funeral, just a memorial mass. So, I stood in the church and watched my uncle say goodbye to his wife.
A new suit - he wanted to look good for her. Make her proud.
Standing beside his son, trying to be strong.
Quietly losing her; his everything. (His words, not mine.)
If anything confirmed my lack of religion and faith, it was listening to the priest tell a grieving family and congregation that the rain falls on the just and the unjust alike. That she had gone to a better place. That they should have faith in God's plan.
I say no.
I want my uncle to know that the love he and his wife shared was enough. There was no lack. I don't want him to think of her away in some heaven, I want him to keep her close, in his heart. I want him to feel her smile and continue living his life, sharing joy and pain with her as long as he needs to.
She was too young to go, she didn't deserve the pain of a terrible disease. But it happened. They dealt with it with love, humour, and great friends - the best they could. I'd rather have my uncle embrace the life they lived, than consign it to an indiscriminate God's plan.
So, go out and seize the day. 53 doesn't seem as far away as it once did.
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