Thursday, March 24, 2005

Life and Death

Terri Schiavo and Jeff Weise are an interesting juxtaposition. One is the woman who can't chose at this point whether to live or die and the other is the boy who chose to die and chose others to die with him.

Many people, including myself, have posted their various opinions on these subjects. I have seen everything from outpourings of grief and sympathy to downright rage against various systems and individuals-even Terri Schiavo for not leaving a living will.

Somewhere buried in all of this, was noted the passing of Bobby Short, a cabaret singer of note whose career spanned the spectrum of entertainment and the passing of Barney Martin, who became famous for playing Jerry Seinfeld's annoying father Morty in addition to a 20 year career as a policeman.

Both men died of cancer, a killer if there ever was one. I do wonder what each would have said to Jeff Weise. After all, Jeff was a teenager, whose wisdom teeth had not come in yet. These men lived until their 80s and knew love and loss and good times and hard times. Could they have told him that there would have been a tomorrow? That no matter how painful it is, there is something to live for? That you can evolve over the course of your life?

I imagine that the Barney Martin that was close to Jeff's age and that went into the Navy as a pilot would not have imagined himself as an actor on Broadway or TV, much less a part of what is now considered classic television. Bobby Short was the ultimate child actor in vaudeville who had to also deal with racism. That Bobby Short could not have been able to see the day when he would not only play the Cafe Carlyle in New York City but be allowed to dine in the Cafe Carlyle and book a room at the Carlyle Hotel. Heck, he probably could not have foreseen a day when he would be able to walk through the front door of the Carlyle Hotel.

Would both men counsel Terri's family to remember her as she was and that sometimes you have to know when to let go? Would they tell them to find strength in what is left behind and live the remaining years they have to the full in Terri's memory?

I don't know.

I do know that though many of us believe in reincarnation, we really only do have one life to live and we should live it to the full and try not to leave any carnage along the way. We should look ahead because we will all face that time when we need to let go.

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