Sunday, June 15, 2008
Tip#165: Facing The Death of a Loved One - The Incredible Hulk
Facing the death of a loved one can shake your world to the core. It can push you into looking at life differently. Death is a reality and a pain we must all eventually face and learn from.
Two weeks ago I gave a keynote talk at the Royal Ontario Museum on my topic How To Press Play When You're Stuck On Pause. The real theme of the evening was actually of how pop culture saved my life.
I opened my keynote with an observation about the past few months of how I had a number of friends experience the passing of a mother, father or other loved one. It seemed unusually synchronistic and I felt for all my friends. I didn't realize then that this pattern would continue.
Last week during one of my morning walks I came across a snail on the sidewalk. It was a tragic sight because it lay freshly dead with its shell shattered. I shuddered at the message it may be giving me and pushed the thought out of my head. About an hour later a friend called to tell me a mutual friend had just committed suicide.
I was in shock. It would not even hit me for days later about the significance of that poor snail I saw that morning. So I went to meet my friend who had called so we could figure out what had happened. We spent the day trying to piece together the reason our friend had chosen to take his own life.
We knew he had a substance addiction and a troubled upbringing that fueled much anger inside. He was an intense soul. He could be incredibly helpful and loving while on the flip side could erupt with much rage.
A few years ago I had a falling out with this friend because of his volatile and hurtful side and sadly had to distance myself from him. I had tried to help him deal with this angry side but finally knew it was beyond my knowledge.
The Incredible Hulk
It would later be a surprising moment to see a reflection of my friend in the just released movie, The Incredible Hulk. I did not expect to see direct mirrors of the character Bruce Banner, played by Edward Norton, and my own tortured friend. Even the poster reflects the sad side of his story.
There were scenes of Banner in solitude and loneliness because he had to stay away from the people he loved due to his angry side. I almost cried during these scenes because this must have been what my friend was feeling. He must have felt so alone and out of options that he chose to leave this world.
Death forces you to re-evaluate life choices and reflect on the person you lost. It forces you to see some meaning in that person's death. It makes you recognize all the good qualities of that person's life. And finally death can help you reprioritize what is most important in your life.
I wish I could have done more for my friend and can at least keep his memory alive with the actions I will take now in my own life. He will continue to be a positive role model for me with the tenacious side to him that always inspired me. And I will always remember everything else my friend did that made a positive difference in my life.
In this way we can always keep the memories of our absent loved ones alive for years to come.
Motivational Specialist & Motivational Wingman
© Emmanuel Lopez 2008