Rad's Reality Check by Radley West

Rad’s Reality Check
by Radley West

I can honestly say that I have never been one who deals well with death and funerals. It seems in my life, there have been too many people who have been taken from their loved ones far too early. I know it is not my decision what is too early, but often it seems too early.

As a fitness professional, I preach fitness and good nutrition as the key to a happy, long life. However, the sad truth is, none of us is promised tomorrow. While this is true, it is not a reason to avoid taking care of your health. Good health provides us with the opportunity to have a full, active and happy life while we are here with our loved ones.

Good health is a gift we give to those around us every day. The ability to get up and down on the floor with our grandchildren is a gift. The fun of being able to throw your toddler nephew up in the air to evoke giggles is a gift. Seriously, can you think of many things that are more fun and simple than being with your young grandchildren, nephews or nieces and experiencing the world through the eyes of a child?

There have been several instances in my life lately where loved ones have been removed from the earth in an unexpected and untimely manner. These people range in age from 16 years old to 65 years old. In light of this, I recently found myself having a discussion about death with my 12 year old daughter. She expressed that she does not like funerals. Really, who does? I told her to consider the following. When someone dies, if they are saved, they go to heaven. In my opinion, when someone goes to heaven it is similar to going to a Sunday dinner at the old homestead or a family gathering. For example, when my Grandmother passes I envision her reuniting with her husband, her siblings, her two sons, her parents and many others whose lives she has touched. They will all be there ready to welcome her home. She is 98 years old, so I expect it will be quite a gathering.

I explained to Peyton that a funeral, in my opinion, is really for us left here on earth as a sort of closure to say goodbye. If we look at a funeral as the celebration of life and really remember who that person was we can move on in a happy way. I am saddened that I will no longer be able to speak to these people I have lost. But that is my selfish ego coming out. My memories of these people are what keep them alive.

No matter when we die, we will more than likely leave behind people who love us and mourn our passing. If we make sure our time here is not taken for granted, the ones we leave behind will have something to celebrate. Remember, very few people wish they had spent more time at work when facing the end of their lives. Hug and kiss your loved ones when you part for the day. You are not promised another day with each other. Don’t take them for granted.