**This blog post was inspired by my boyfriend’s newborn nephew, Daniel, and my visit to Indonesia to see and be with my Opa [Grandfather] who was ill then, and recently passed away on December 27th, 2011. I wrote this on October 2, 2011 in Jakarta, Indonesia.
October 2, 2011
“I know I was born and I know that I’ll die…The in between is mine.”- Eddie Vedder
One of life’s magnifying, most breathtaking moment is when a child is born; when a fetus becomes a human being; breathing, crying, moving, living. But every beginning always has an ending. And one of life’s most terrifying and painful moments is death. When that born child grows old, lived the in between, to their last, final breath, how can we possibly comprehend something as inexplicable as the tragic of one’s death? We all know we will one day die. We don’t know when, we won’t know how, and we don’t know why, but somewhere along our limited lives, we will pass away….and in that given time, in that given second, in that given moment, a beautiful, precious, perfect baby is born.
As incredibly happy or saddening these life changing moments are, none can possibly compare to the moments that took place amid the two points of one’s life. For me, what makes a “great death” is one who lived a great life. I am not one to judge who deserves to be great or not, however I have been delightedly honored to have been blessed with such incredible people in MY life. Great people. I am only 19 years old, but I have seen enough to understand how the world works, how people can be, and the system of life. I have seen passion, patience, understanding, pressure, faith, wasted time, the trust worthy, the faithful, the faithless, happiness, sorrow, lovers, love, a new born child, someone’s death. We are all given a moment in between to live. Every second is a blessing for the next is not guaranteed. How we choose to live our lives is probably THEE most important decision anyone ever has to make. The “in between” shapes us as a person. Our morals and principle are not constructed in the beginning, but there, in the middle. We do not build our character at the end, but there, in between. We die as the people we are recognized to be to others the time between our first and last breath. There are approximately 490,000 babies born every day worldwide and about 200-250,000 people die each day. The 250,000 people who die each day are the past who will lead the 490,000 new born babies to the future. Just like a domino effect, each individual affects one another; some noticeably, some in a subtle way. I don’t know if I have affected a person’s life, but if I did, I sure hope it was for the good. People come and go, and the ones that have affected my life in some way stay with me forever- even if death has taken over them. And that, to me, is my definition of a “great person”. It doesn’t matter if they have passed away. If they have left a valuable impression in your heart and mind, they are those who have lived. This reminds me of a quote by Mark Twain, “Let us live so that when we come to die, even the undertaker will be sorry.” The joy a newborn baby gives is as compelling and influential as the silence of a person’s death. Life truly is a beautiful tragedy. And as influential as the beginning and the end are, nothing is as powerful as the life lived in the thick of these two points of one’s life. We were never given a choice to be born, and we were never given the power to have eternal life on earth, but the one decision we do have can create a new horizon for people to see and remember, and that is the decision of how we should live our lives till our death. You may not remember the beginning, and you may not know your ending, but in the midst of those two points lie what is rightfully yours- the in between.
Opa, you have lived your in between, and you sure have inspired many people in your life. I know that because many people wanted to speak and share to those who came to your memorial service in Indonesia of how loving of a person you were to them and others. You are my inspiration to live my life with care and love no matter the circumstances. My favorite quote is the one I had mentioned above by Mark Twain, and I’am more than honored to finally and personally know a man who has lived up to that quote. You were and still are such an influential man and I hope you left this world knowing that you will forever be loved by the many people you have touched. Sleep well, Opa. Until we all meet again. I love you.❤