As I get older I realize I don’t have many years left. It is hard to believe that someday you will cease to exist. How can that be, when you’ve existed all these years? Will it be like you are sleeping? Or will it be like a dream that becomes your new reality. I have been asking myself these questions for a long time, and the answers have eluded me (thank goodness for that!). But I’ve also tried to leave something of worth behind me. Over the years, I enjoyed many crafts and part of the reason is that I am attempting to give my children and the world something to remember me by. I painted pictures, quilted, painted ceramics, and conducted genealogy research. Each form of expression gave me some peace―some feeling of leaving something besides my wonderful children behind me on this Earth.
I do not intend for this column to be depressing. But I see no reason not to cope with the reality that someday we will no longer exist—a concept most people who are 86 grapple with. Will you be forgotten as another generation arrives or have you left something behind that will say “I was here”? I feel this way about my writing as well. I am proud to have two books and several stories published; I like thinking that someone might read these works fifty years from now and get pleasure from or entertainment from the words. My writing gives me satisfaction that I have put part of me into the future—I created characters, plots and stories that will allow someone to get lost in my creations for a time.
Although I believe in God and in Heaven, it is very difficult to grasp what it will be like. How will we recognize loved ones who have gone before us? How is there space up there for all of us? Some might say these are useless questions: We will find the answers when it’s our time to go. Still, the thought of no longer existing as a person in this reality is a hard one to grasp.
My daughter Genilee may have a fit with my writing a column that seems so glum. I remember well when my own mother talked about death, and I told her the same thing my children would say to me: “Don’t talk about it. I don’t want to hear it.”
I understand where they are coming from, and yet―here I am talking about it on the Internet. I used to hate the subject as well. But as I approach my 90th year, I can’t help but be curious. And I’d like to hear from my fellow writers, readers and friends. How do you feel about the subject―deathDo any of you have trouble coming to grips with the fact someday you will no longer exist on Earth?
Regardless of whether I hear from anyone, I promise to write my next column on a more cheerful topic. And to my friends: don’t worry. I am actually not depressed and I apologize if I’ve made you think about something you don’t want to face right now. Please know that I am quite content with my life. I hope you are, too.
F. Sharon Swope
April 16, 2014 at 2:26 pm
Dear F. Sharon.
Your words laid heavy on my heart. My mother expressed her fears in her last days here on earth. She had lung cancer. God allowed remission in her life twice giving her almost 3 years of extra life to live. You have a lot of trials and tribulations in your physical health, but praise God, I also read some of the blessings you are living in the later days of your life. I’ve read some of the blessings–your books!! So many people wish they were as blessed as you are and could write a book. You’ve written more. Don’t let the negatives (your physical problems and your age) in your life get you down. Focus on the positive and live your life fully, enjoying these blessed days. THEN remember after life here on earth it only gets better for those of us who believe in Him. You’ll get to keep writing, but in heaven you’ll have a healthy body, your sight fully, and so much more. Live in the day. Find comfort and joy in each and every thing you do each day; and sweetie, you’ll continue to be a blessing for generations to come. They get to read the books you leave behind.
I don’t speak any of this in harshness or misguided faith. I know about the end of the days here on earth. As you know, God just took my husband home to Him, but I know Scott’s life is not over…it’s just over here on earth. But trust me — he is not forgotten. He lives in our hearts, in the pictures we surround ourselves in, in my kids, in my grandkids, in his many friends. He didn’t write a book, but everyone who knew him remembers the beautiful smile and the words of joy he gave them.
So cheer up. Live today, look forward to eternity in heaven, and keep writing…leaving that legacy to your children and grand children and great grandchildren. God bless you F. Sharon.