Enjoy GRAND Magazine

for grandparents & those who love them

Death And Life And Grandchildren


death and life and grandchildren

BY RICHARD AND LINDA EYRE

November was a tough month for us.  First was the death of a 50-year advisor and mentor.  Then, a lifetime friend and doubles partner passed.  Then, a niece, whose congenital heart defect was thought to be stable, died suddenly. And then my (Richard’s) dear brother was diagnosed with terminal stage 4 cancer.

“…there are important benefits that come from making death a more open subject in our families—and that doing so not only prepares us and those we love for the inevitable but adds to our appreciation, our awareness, and our unity.”

Is death a subject we deal with only when we have to? Or is it a reality that we should become comfortable thinking about and something we should be talking about with our children and grandchildren?  One of our sons, who did his graduate work in positive psychology at U. Penn, feels that there are important benefits that come from making death a more open subject in our families—and that doing so not only prepares us and those we love for the inevitable, but adds to our appreciation, our awareness, and our unity.

In trying to capture some of these benefits and focus on the joy that has filtered through the pain of this past month, we decided to frame it in the form of a poem, which we hope may prompt some new textures in your thinking:

 20 Reasons to Think (and Talk) More About Death

 We don’t like thoughts

of death…

In general,

Of friends,

And particularly not of

our own.

But

we should embrace what we banish.

Here are twenty reasons why:

One: It is the single

universal experience.

Two: It can come to any of us

at any time.

Three: Its awareness

sharpens our awareness.

Four: It counters

the sin of taking for granted.

Five: It’s “last time” paradigm

enhances gratitude.

Six: It separates what is minutia

From what matters.

Seven: It deepens conversation

and relationships.

Eight: It reminds us that all this beauty

is fragile, finite, and fleeting.

Nine: It delineates the now-time here

from the non-time there.

Ten: It catalyzes love—

expanding, extending, elongating.

Eleven: It stimulates ponderings

about God and Heaven.

Twelve: It connects us

to those who are there.

Thirteen: It opens up wider, longer,

deeper awareness and perspective.

Fourteen: It confirms

Grandchildren as our legacy.

Fifteen: It spurs a seeking

of destiny and purpose.

Sixteen: It prompts genuine

re-evaluation and repentance.

Seventeen: It brings an appreciative form

Of humility.

Eighteen: It suggests that we don’t really start here

Or end here.

Nineteen: It reminds us of how much remains

Of those who depart.

Twenty: It helps us see

our spiritual siblings.

 

All good things are made better

by anticipation,

And death, in God’s time, is a good thing.

 

 

Richard & Linda Eyre

About the author

GRAND is pleased to welcome New York Times #1 Bestselling Authors Richard and Linda Eyre as regular columnists. The Eyres’ parenting and life-balance books have reached millions and been translated into a dozen languages. As fellow baby boomers, their passion and their writing focus have now shifted to the joy of grandparenting. Linda’s latest book is Grandmothering, and Richard’s is Being a Proactive Grandfather, and their latest initiative is a Grandparenting101 Zoom course.

Only $ 6.95

A Special eBook for New and Expecting GRANDparents

My Grand Baby ebook cover