Life’s Lesson: Aim To Live

Digital StillCamera

It has been a long time since I posted on my blog, far too long actually.  It’s been a rough time but after listening to a video about Zach Sobiech, I’m here to let you know I’m improving – a promise I make to myself, my late husband, and my family of friends.


I’ve told you about my late husband suffering from depression, which nobody knew about.  And how he took his life May 4, 2010.  I found him, tried resuscitating him, however, it was too late.


It’s not too late for others though.  And while I’ve written about much information on suicide prevention, symptoms of depression and other information surrounding this growing epidemic, I’m now going to tell you something a bit more positive.


In grieving loss by suicide, you never have closure.  So many questions remain without answers and, of course, one becomes angry during the process of healing.  Anger for me was partly in the promise when we Martin and I married, until death do us part.  We promised to “always love each other.”


How does one do that really?  Don’t we all assume that ‘death’ is a very long time into the future?  I know that I certainly felt that way.  However, for me it was less than a year.  I felt angry and cheated.  Until today that is.  This young man, Zach, lived his life.  He didn’t take it sitting down.  He even spoke of dreaming and talking of plans with his girlfriend about how many kids they should have.  All this while knowing he had but a few months left to live.  That’s when it hit me.


Martin did make good on his promise.  He loved me until “death do us part.”  And most of all, he loved me the best he could.  I couldn’t ask for more.  It would be unfair.


Like Martin, those pondering suicide feel there is no way out of their black hole, the pit of life they often refer to.  He couldn’t handle it any longer and I, like most people, didn’t understand the signs and what he was going through.  He never spoke of such things – ever.  His family never even knew.


So my purpose of this writing?  To recognize that life is about living, not waiting to die.  And love is about doing just that – love the person the “best you can” while you can.  Martin loved me for three years, although we were married less than a year.  He brightened my world with happiness, laughter, and joy during those three years, up until the end.


In a way, he lived like he was dying – doing the best he could with the most love and interest and honor he could muster.  I loved him then and I love him now.


Please don’t wait until the right moment(s) … don’t use life as a springboard for the proverbial, “when life is more positive or we’re better off …” routines.  Live your life – truly live it.  Never hesitate to tell that certain someone, or family and friends, whomever … that you love them.  And don’t hesitate to engage in an activity you really enjoy or want to try.  Never let your last words or thoughts be, “I wish I had …”


In essence, live positively no matter what is occurring in your life.  This young man did.  He was a teenager and he died today, May 20 from Osteosarcoma.  And he was the most positive influence in the lives of his family, friends, and now those strangers who learn about his life through his songs, the video his family made, as well as the Fund created in his name.


For anyone out there who is dealing with depression, please seek all available help.  Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).  If you know someone, or suspect someone has difficulties in this area, talk gently with them and help them to seek help from medical professionals, therapists, psychologists, doctors, nurses.  There is help out there, and sometimes all we need is an ear, or a hand.   Never judge or dictate what that person should do.  But gently tell them you’re there for them and you will be through whatever methods they choose to get help.


And I hope everyone out there reading this remembers to LIVE life, don’t sit back and let anything pass you by!  And don’t forget to LOVE and let those you love know about it!

Don’t be afraid your life will end; be afraid it will never begin”

Grace Hansen






How Will You Play Cards You’re Dealt

The Elephant in the Room…

I lost my late husband about 11 months ago when tragedy occurred:  he took his own life.  For a few months after this traumatic event, I lived a dying existence.  Nothing mattered; I had no interest in any social events or activities which used to please me.  There was no pleasure in my life at that time. 

Today I have reasons for happiness.  Don’t misunderstand me – I remember him always knowing we were in love and shared immense happiness.   However, each day now I fill my world with a bit more love and joy in the little things.  How can I not?  My girls, two white boxers I rescued – or did they rescue me – share with me each day their unconditional love and endless forgiveness.  What could be better. 

That hole in my heart will always exist.  Though I can say with certainty that the healing process continues and I am inspired by Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture.  I am moved to finding all the ‘happy’ moments in my world and to enjoying the life I have.   Because when all is said and done, as Randy mentioned:  it’s about how you play the cards you’re dealt! 

Recently I came across the following story of Randy Pausch who used the Last Lecture to engage people to live life instead of just going through the motions.  The talk was modeled after an ongoing series of lectures where top academics are asked to think deeply about what matters to them, and then give a hypothetical “final talk”, with a topic such as “what wisdom would you try to impart to the world if you knew it was your last chance?”  


I’d like to share it with you here and encourage you to follow his lead with your life.


The brick walls are not there to keep us out; the brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something.”    ~Randy Pausch


Randy Pausch was 47 years old when he died from pancreatic cancer.  He was, as the Independent of London put it, “The dying man who taught America how to live.”  His book, The Last Lecture, is an international best-seller and it proffers many brilliant lessons about life. 

Randy Pausch’s “last lecture” was delivered September 2007, at Carnegie Mellon University, where he taught computer science.  The lecture began with him standing before a screen beaming down chilling CT images of tumors in his liver, under the title:  The Elephant in the Room.  He then said to a stunned audience, “I have about 6 months to live.”  He said, “I’m really in good shape, probably better shape than most of you,” dropping to the floor to do push-ups. 

He went on to say, “I’m dying and I’m having fun, and I’m going to keep having fun every day I have left.”  He talked about his childhood dreams and what they had taught him about life.  He said, “If you live your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself … your dreams will come to you.”

Randy Pausch really was a dying man who helped teach us how to live. 

He died on July 25, 2008 but his wisdom, his passion and his attitude are lasting sources of inspiration for all of us. 

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~