Why does it take death to remind us to keep things in perspective

perspective n  
1. a way of regarding situations, facts, etc, and judging their relative importance
2. the proper or accurate point of view or the ability to see it; objectivity
The other day I came across a situation that forced me to keep things in perspective that I would like to share with you…

It involves, unfortunately, something that causes all of us to keep things in perspective… death. We are all guilty at one time or another of NOT putting things in their proper perspective until AFTER someone dies, be it someone we know personally or when we hear of a heartbreaking, tragic situation. 

It is the latter which caused yours truly to look at my world and to judge their relative importance for that they really are… EVERYTHING.

I recently heard of a story of a woman who received a call in the middle of the night telling her that her brother had died had of a heart attack. 

Her and her husband naturally jumped out of bed to get changed and go to be by their now widowed sister-in-law’s side. However in the process of getting changed, her own husband suffered a heart attack… and he too, died. 

Within the span of 15 minutes, one woman lost her brother and her husband.
How can ANYONE put something like this in perspective and what does it do to your perspective after reading it?
I can tell you I simply cannot put this into perspective on any level other than to say it was their time but I can tell you it forced me to put my life in perspective. And my wife’s life and our kids… it forced me to remember to keep an accurate point of view of what is truly important. 

Damn shame something like this forced me to do all that… Shouldn’t have to be that way. Shouldn’t need the proverbial safe to drop on my head to remind me what is really important. 


Right now my brothers, sister & I are going through a difficult stage in our mother’s life as we are helpless to watch as she begins the transition into nursing home care. 


Meanwhile my father-in-law continues to beat cancer, again, regain his strength and get back on his feet. 


Yet these two things, these two VERY personal things did not cause me to keep things in perspective. 


No, it was hearing the story of the poor woman, whom I have never met, lose both her husband and brother in 15 minutes. 


What’s wrong with me?


Is it because my mother and father-in-law are alive and these two faceless, nameless men are dead? 


If that’s the case, that’s downright pathetic and I am ashamed of myself.


Nothing against the two men, but this is my mother and father-in-law here, two people I love dearly.


Why does it take death to remind us to keep things in perspective?


When you get right down to it, why do we need ANY reminder to keep things in perspective?

Shouldn’t just the sight of your child be sufficient?

Shouldn’t the warmth of your spouse’s arms as they just give you a hug for the hell of it do the trick?


Shouldn’t the morning sun or evening glow get the job done?

Unfortunately for the majority of us, it’s not enough.

I can tell you of one person who all the above is all the reminder she needs to keep things in perspective… my wife, Terri


I don’t know how she does it but she does it. She manages to keep things in their proper perspective… most of the time. She is human after all.


But by and large she knows what is truly important in her life and what is simply meaningless white noise in the grand scheme.

So, how about you?


Do you keep things in perspective for the most part?


Or do you find life getting in the way causing you to need some reminder to keep things in perspective?

‘Til next time…





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2 thoughts on “Why does it take death to remind us to keep things in perspective

  1. Steve –First and most important — I'm sorry for what you and your family are facing with your mom. I get why the circle of life has us care for our parents as they decline but it seems particularly cruel.Second — your own family's situation didn't smack you on the forehead because you are entwined in it. You have no time to be philosophical — you are dealing with doctors, insurance, and other minutia that doesn't allow you to step back.It's why someone's death seems to afford us that moment's pause, I think. We gain perspective because by design, we are forced to stop and reflect.So stop kicking yourself in the ass. It doesn't matter where the perspective comes from. It matters that you have it.If you don't believe me, ask your wife.Drew

  2. Thanks Drew… Since I posted this my father-in-law passed away and I, as you wrote, was afforded a moment's pause… I have stopped kicking myself in my ass… You are dead on… It only matters that I have the perspective…Thank you my friend,Steve O

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