I *get* it. I mean I know why people say it, but I don’t think they truly realize. ..
And, of course, you have absolutely no idea where I’m coming from. (Which, I’m telling you, is O-KAY. Welcome to the life of most of my friends and family! You may never be able to identify the thread I’m jumping from, but my hope is that in the end, you can see the web clearly woven.)
Our friend who died was military. It should come as no shock to anyone that we have a military friend; I mean we are a military family, and I don’t think it changes much after retirement.
However, Tyler was over at the house of those mourning the other evening, and somehow (the military aspect) my family came up in conversation. I served; my husband did the full 20; my oldest son is currently serving. . .
And someone who truly knows us not, turned around all aghast and “asked” Tyler, “You aren’t joining? Right?”
To which he truthfully responded that he was indeed seriously considering it.
Here stood a young man, at the dawn of his adult life in the home of one whose life had been snatched away, saying that he would not shy from this option.
Oh, how I would have loved to seen the faces in the room!
Now, please understand that I am not brain-washing my kids to join the service. I actually never bring it up, until they do. . .and then I try to steer them toward the Air Force (which no-one in our family has ever served in). But, you also need to realize, at least in the case of my two oldest, the service is what they KNOW. It is a lifestyle that they find themselves incredibly comfortable with.
But, I do understand the shock, especially in this scenario.
What I don’t understand is the fear. That actually comes up frequently. “Aren’t you worried? Aren’t you scared? Did you talk to him this week?”
Well, wait, I am a Mom. YES! Of course, I worry. . .but that’s my job. I worry about things like: Is he eating healthy? Is he making good friends? Is some woman after him yet? Did he scare her away?
But, no, as a general rule I don’t worry about death, and I don’t know why I should.
I did some searching online today. Did you know that active duty military deaths in 2009 numbered only 1,515? And of that number only 346 were due to enemy action. (Data)
Yeah. . .compare that to the following US data of the same year (data courtesy of CDC):
- Heart disease: 599,413
- Cancer: 567,628
- Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 137,353
- Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 128,842
- Accidents (unintentional injuries): 118,021
- Alzheimer’s disease: 79,003
- Diabetes: 68,705
- Influenza and Pneumonia: 53,692
- Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 48,935
- Intentional self-harm (suicide): 36,909
- alcohol related fatalities: 12,744 (data)
The reality is I have no control over when someone departs this world, or how. (If you need a poignant reminder 2,752 deaths were the result of a single day in September.)
I will not fear.