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In the Midst of Life We Are in Death

Updated on October 14, 2018
ethel smith profile image

Now retired Eileen looks back occasionally on her working life. She is enjoying retirement and embracing older age with a smile.

Those Famous Words


Death Comes Calling

Media vita in morte sumus — in the midst of life we are in death.

This age old saying is worth remembering as death often comes knocking when we least expect it.

This week my oldest sister-in-law unexpectedly died aged 80.

You may say, well 80 is a good age, and yes, it is. but like many things in this life age is relative.

When I was 20-years-old 50 sounded ancient. Now I am in my late sixties 80 does not sound so old.

Her death was unexpected and relatively quick. A life snuffed out in the blink of an eye, though surely that is how we would all chose to leave this world?

There are so many long, lingering and horrible ways we may die, a quick, fairly untroubled passing has to be the best way? That of course depends on many things including your age and if you have unfinished business.

As my in-law was passing her two adult children were on a plane flying back to the U.K. but they arrived too late.

Her grandchildren and some family members however were with her.

She was unconscious but perhaps she felt our presence?


Recriminations seem common place in bereavement.

Loved ones so often beat themselves up for not visiting enough, not being there as the end of life draws near and so much more. Worse still some people have not spoken for years after some silly argument; in some cases an argument none of those involved even really remember.

It should be a lesson to us all and we should act accordingly.

However once the death is fading into memory most people carry on as before.

Sadly even the closest loved one may manage to blame themselves in some way and they will need to be reassured.

Make Changes Before It Is Too Late

If your family has a rift resolve the issues now.

If there is a loved one you have been meaning to visit or get in contact with do it now.

Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today, as after all tomorrow may never come for you! There are so many pertinent sayings we should heed.

In the 21st Century friends and family are scattered around the world but modern technology means it is easy to keep in touch.

The Last Goodbye

So now we wait.

Funerals are a necessity though never easy. Family and friends will gather to say that last goodbye. Will there be any arguments? Sadly there may be.

However death is a fact of life.

None of us like to dwell on death and funerals but perhaps we should all be prepared.

In the midst of life we are in death - life and death are intertwined.

Life, and time, is precious, use both wisely.

© 2018 Ethel Smith


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    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      2 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks Linda. It was a few thoughts. We tend to take life for granted too often

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I'm sorry for your loss, Ethel. You've shared some wise advice in this article. We never know when death will come, but it's an inevitable event. Death is a fact of life, as you say. It's important to be prepared. Thank you for reminding us of this fact.

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      2 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks Don. Agreed. It can be a very individual process

    • hard sun profile image

      Don Shepard 

      2 years ago

      "If your family has a rift resolve the issues now."

      Good advice Ethel. I hope all deal with it as well as possible. Grieving is never easy.

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      2 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thank you Liz and agreed. Death is never easy

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      2 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thank you Nick. It is my hubby, his family and her grandkids I feel for

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      2 years ago from UK

      I am so sorry to hear of your sad news. Words seem a little empty at times like this. This is a very poignant and relevant article for us all. Most dates can go in the diary, but death is one that we can't write down. I can't claim that as an original thought, as it came from a very sincere and humble Christian leader, who sadly passed away himself a few years ago. You make some good points. I think a lot of us spend so much time getting bogged down in the hear and now that we give little consideration to what might lie beyond death until it catches up with us. There is no 'good age' to go.

    • Nick Bishop profile image

      Nick Bishop 

      2 years ago

      Sorry for your loss Ethel.

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      2 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thank you Peggy. She was my hubbys big sis the eldest of six children. The youngest died when he was a toddler leaving my hubby the baby of the family. We have been talking of the happier times when they were young kids. Easier for me as an in law but I had known her 46 years, a long time

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      2 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Hi Shelli absolutely. We all promise ourselves we will make changes but somehow leave it too late

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Good advice, Ethel. We should all live each day as it it might be our last for we never know when that will become reality. Life is indeed short and the time seems to speed up the older we get. My condolences to you and your family on the passing of your sister-in-law.

    • luvmyabu profile image

      Shelli Willows 

      2 years ago from Salt Lake City

      Excellent article. We all must face death, yet somehow life gets in the way of truly living what matters most.


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