Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Live Like You Were Dying

I had to go to a funeral today.  Well, actually it was a memorial service, but in my book it's the same thing, just no casket.
These services are never easy, but this one today was especially tough.  It was for a young pilot with whom I work.  Or I should say used to work with -- before he was diagnosed with cancer -- and most of the people that I knew at the service were there dressed in uniform.  We honored him by wearing the uniform of a job that he was so very proud to have.
Captain John was diagnosed with cancer just after he upgraded to the left seat.  For much of his career after that he was off on sick leave, returning to flight duty only once during a one-year remission.  A remission that was all too short.
Captain John knew he was dying, and it was both a blessing and a curse to him.  Sure, he was in pain, and suffered the indignities of treatments that didn't work.  However, he still lived life to its fullest.  Every single day.  Something that I know more of us wish we could say. 
He had time to prepare for death, and went about saying his good byes to family, friends and co-workers.  He was a meticulous pilot, and his attention to detail came through at his services today.  He planned every bit of today's event, from the choice of scriptures to be read, the people who spoke, the music, and the playing of a goodbye video shot at a time when his health was stronger. 
Rather than being sad or maudlin, it brought laughter to everyone:  it was Captain John, doing the pre-flight and running down the checklist for his final flight.  Rest in peace, my friend.


TheMadAdmin said...

That was a great post. I had an aunt who had six months to live. And that wasw what she did, she lived them. She made great memories for her friends and family to hold on to after she was no longer there to hold.

Fly Girl said...

Why is it that it takes a death sentence before we live like that? Starting today I'm making a promise to live every day NOW instead of waiting till I'm on borrowed time.

JoeyC said...

That was an emotional post, great job FG!!!


Viva la vita flight attendant!

FlyinOnMy747 said...

I had a friend die two years back of cancer, it was the excat same situation with her, she was the most amazing person ever, never once complained about the pain she was in, and worried more about the troops in Iraq than her soon to come mortal fate. I think God always takes the best of us, just to remind us to be like them.

On a lighter note, ive been reading your journal for a while now and i love it!

marco_099 said...

That´s it girl la vida es para vivirla. Don´t be sad about your friend, surely he is in a better place. Ánimo!

Queen of Sky said...

Sorry to hear it. SOunds like a great guy.

Bone said...

Excellent post.

Funerals always make me think the same things, take stock of my life, and especially remind me that I need to spend more time with others. But for some reason, I slip back into the same rut all too soon.

Traytable said...

Lovely post. Capt John sounds like an amazing guy and it's great he could arrange to say goodbye the way he wanted to... and that so many were there to say it back. =)