Better to Leave or Be Left?

This weekend, I went home for a close family friend’s birthday. He’s been a hallmark in my life since…let’s just say a while. 😛 Anyway, he’s been my mom’s bff for decades. He’s in his 80s and has had a couple health problems, but was pretty healthy until he developed Alzheimers.

Recently, he’s been on a downward slide–losing weight, forgetting how to complete simple tasks. He’s gotten into a couple car accidents involving himself and a tree or a boulder. Luckily, no one was ever injured. But it’s clear he cannot keep going much longer on his own.

This vibrant outgoing talkative man has become quiet and a shadow of his former self. And it is inevitable. We all will go into decline at some point.

It got me thinking about how much worse it is to be left behind. Whether it be when someone emotionally outgrows you or physically moves away or even dies. To remain without them hurts. And I’ve started to believe that dying isn’t as hard as remaining behind. Maybe, it’s because I’m still here so all I’ve experienced is the being left.

But from my current vantage point, being left is far worse than leaving. I’m not saying that growing old and dying are easy. Hell  no. But relative to being without someone you love and going forward in your daily life with a big gaping hole there, I gotta believe that dying is easier.

Maybe I am naïve. But that’s what’s rolling around in my brain today. What do you think? Easier to leave or be left?

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2 Responses to Better to Leave or Be Left?

  1. Loren Chase says:

    I have actually been tossing this question around in my head for the past couple of days. My grandmother suffers from terminal lung cancer and is fading rapidly, especially in the past few weeks. I’m still unsure of the answer but I don’t think either is easier. For those that leave, (if they are coherent) they’re left wondering if they’re loved ones are going to hold out without them. They’re left with a million unanswered questions and to leave with that pain, though brief as it may be, is still heart breaking. (I’m sorry this might be a bit disjointed! I’m trying to think this through as I type) I think it really depends on the people and the situation. If that person is ready to leave, the “left” would undoubtedly still suffer. Hmm… I suppose I should probably think about this more. Although my first response upon reading this was that leaving is easier. I’ll keep your friend in my thoughts:)

    • Very sorry to hear about your grandmother. It horrible to watch someone fading. Sending you positive thoughts to help you through. 🙂

      I see your point about it being hard on the person leaving, especially when they are dying and worry about their loved ones and must also endure horrible pain before passing on. I don’t think I’ll have a definitive answer to this question until after I’ve passed on because I cannot begin to understand what that process is like. I can only imagine it.

      I guess it also depends on what you think happens when you die too. Personally, I believe in reincarnation where you forget your past life, so you are free from all the ties you had, whereas the people who stay behind still have the memories and the links and have to deal with the day to day.

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