Life at the Beginning and the End

You know those deep introspective thoughts that makes you think about changing your entire world and then in the next moment you’re wondering what to have for dinner. Anyone else bounce back and forth like that? Is that normal?


My first niece was born on June 23rd. I am now an aunt and our family has a new member. A new little member. We’ve added my two sisters-in-laws in the last 3 years, but that’s different. This is a new life who has no concept of the world. She is going to experience everything for the first time, and we’re going to delight in watching her wonder. This is life beginning.

Then on the opposite side, I’m watching what life is like as it ends. My grandparents are all struggling with health issues. My grandpa who was very active softball player and golfer is having trouble getting from one side of the room to the other because of Parkinson’s. My grandma’s mind is slowly losing focus from early Alzheimers. My other grandma is insisting on taking care of her invalid sister at the detriment of her own health. They’re on the sunset side of life and there’s no use denying it.

We smile watching the cuteness of little people learning to understand their world, but we don’t seem to have the same kind of understanding and patience with those whose lives are winding down.

I’m trying to understand what a life well lived looks like. I’m in the in between. Trying to maintain the wonderment of life at the beginning with a healthy dose of learning what I want living well to look like at the end of my life.

Is it strange or insensitive to say we have to learn how to die? There’s a beauty in that.