Lessons of Life and Death

Celebrate life and cherish the memories of our loved ones

In the last two weeks, I have attended three memorial services – one for a dear friend, one for a friend’s father, and one for a friend’s grandmother.

These have been poignant, moving and timely reminders of the sanctity, sacredness and also fragility of our lives. As one of the people delivering a brief eulogy stated, let us not mourn the passing of a dear one, but instead let us celebrate their life.

However, hard as one may try, it is still very sad and painful when a loved one departs. At such times, we all have to be strong and remember the good moments.

Also, key during a period of mourning is to remember that everything changes. On this note, a friend sent me one of those inspirational emails which do the rounds and every now and then is a gem of wisdom:-

I feared being alone until I learned to like myself.

I feared failure until I realized that I only fail when I don’t try.

I feared success until I realized that I had to try in order to be happy with myself.

I feared people’s opinions until I learned that people would have opinions about me anyway.

I feared rejection until I learned to have faith in myself.

I feared pain until I learned that it’s necessary for growth.

I feared the truth until I saw the ugliness in lies.

I feared life until I experienced its beauty.

I feared death until I realized that it’s not an end, but a beginning.

I feared my destiny, until I realized that I had the power to change my life.

I feared hate until I saw that it was nothing more than ignorance.

I feared love until it touched my heart, making the darkness fade into endless sunny days.

I feared ridicule until I learned how to laugh at myself.

I feared growing old until I realized that I gained wisdom every day.

I feared the future until I realized that life just kept getting better.

I feared the past until I realized that it could no longer hurt me.

I feared the dark until I saw the beauty of the starlight.

I feared the light until I learned that the truth would give me strength.

I feared change, until I saw that even the most beautiful butterfly had to undergo a metamorphosis before it could fly.

Maybe at the end of the day when all is said and done, love is really all that matters:-)

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  1. Anne Brandt Dias says

    Dear Arvind,
    We had just left for our holidays in Greece. The next day we went to an exchange place to change some £ notes I had left into drachmas. Seeing the note, the lady looked at me and said ‘how sad your princess has died’ I had not heard the news as we were packing to leave, then flying out and upon arrival had dinner and went to bed. I did not know what she was talking about and who she meant. So when I asked her and she told me it was Lady Diana, I was stunned and lost for words apart from ‘oh no – it can’t be’. It came as a shock. I just could not believe nor accept it. Princess Diana was loved by thousands. She was admired for her humility, kindness and caring and last but not least her beauty. She was a great mother and a formidable princess. She will be remembered for a long time.

    So yes Arvind ‘to live in hearts we leave behind is not to die” by Thomas Campbell is very appropriate in the case of Princess Diana, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Mother Teresa.

    Yes I went through a bad year 1990. A very dear family friend died within days in January of that year. Fortunately I had seen him the day before we left Bombay to return home. Eight days later when we returned from dinner and the phone rang. It was his daughter who called me and gave me the news. I was very upset – he was only 60. Less than three months my own mother died. Again, we had seen each other for the last time on 9th January knowing we would meet in the summer when she was to come over, but it did not happen as she died. I could not believe it nor accept it but I cherished the fact that we spent some quality time together without knowing that it would be the last. Less than four months after my mother’s death, my sister-in-law died at the age of 52! So you can imagine it being bad enough to lose one person but 3 within 8 months was just too much. Fortunately for me, I was working for a Principal Legal Adviser and we were extremely busy at work. I would get home and cook dinner – later at night I would cry myself to sleep. This went on for a long time. So yes I have been there and suffered. Time is the best but unfortunately the slowest healer.

    • Thanks Anne for sharing such a personal story.

      I felt your pain and grief as I read through your story. Know that all your loved ones are happy wherever they are now.

      Their love will always be with you:-)

      Lots of love



  1. […] rather than focusiing on the way a person died, we should celebrate their life and learn the lessons they taught […]

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