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What a sobering eye opener.

As kids, there is no doubt that my friends and I thought we were invincible. Some of the things that we did I think about today and wonder how I made it through puberty without ending up in a wheelchair or worse. I had some close calls and landed myself in the hospital more than once, but I always turned out alright and was ready for another round of walking that thin line. I'm sure that most of you can relate. It's completely understandable, too. In our culture we are used to our dead being wisked away so quickly that no one has an opportunity to see them. We use sheets to cover them out in public until a crew comes with a black zippered bag to hide them in and then that goes straight into the ambulance which discreetly makes a deposit at the morgue that no one knows the location of. Then a funeral home worker magically transports the body into a casket and you know the rest of the common story.
I remember during the aftermath of Katrina there were some dead that were left out in the street for a week and people were going nuts about it. I believe it's respectful to have a prompt and proper burial, too, but I don't think that Americans in general have any idea about the way that other cultures handle their dead. There are countries that if someone dies it's up to the family to prepare the body for burial and then bury it or burn it or basically do whatever they see fit with it. Some families find a place inside the home for the corpse to stay for a certain amount of time before they dispose of it.
My point is that very few American teenagers have any grip of reality when it comes to the possibility of their own death. They push the limit and shock their elders, but I think that the reason for them doing so is less that they don't care and more that they just don't know. They've grown up amongst violent television programming and the only death that they know of is the fictional deaths that they've been busy desensitizing themselves with. We don't see our dead in the United States. Even open casket funerals cake so much make-up on the corpses that they look fake. Just like the fake ones they see on television.
Well, I have a better grip on the life and death issue than I did when I was younger. For the second time in my life, someone in my peer group who I knew has died from an illness. There have been others that went in various kinds of accidents and as much as those were tragic and eye-opening to the ultimate price of reckless behaviour, there is just something sobering about knowing those who died from an illness that no one could do anything about.
We are not, by any means, guaranteed a life on this planet and you never know when tragedy might come knocking on your door. I guess that what I want to say is : Live a life that positively impacts people and always remember that there may not be another time to do all the things that you want to do before you're gone. So do the most important things daily.

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