How do you Measure a Life? Understanding the Meanings of a Death

My Mother and Father on their Weeding Day, June, 1949Nancy Smeltzer, MFA

How do you define the measure of a life? Having just spent the last month cleaning out my mother’s home of 50 years, (she died on April 11, 2013), I came across a lot of her memories. In this photo, she’s shown on her wedding day in June, 1949, when she married my father. They look all starry eyed and full of promise. Having read some of her letters to him while he was in med school, she wrote over and over, all she wanted to do was to please him and be a good wife. My brother, sister, and I came along, and then in 1959, he died of a heart attack. leaving her after only 10 years. The depth of her despair and the new world of taking care of a family by herself  that she quickly had to undertake became apparent as I went through her things as we cleaned out her house.

I asked myself a lot of questions as I was loading things up, some to keep and a lot to take to Good Will. There was still the shock of her death and the relief that the pancreatic cancer had taken over quickly enough that she really only suffered for nine days. What was important to her? What did she do with her time, as it had been 11 years since my stepfather died? There was also the reality of my own mortality staring me in my face, as she was only 22 when she had me.

I’ve asked a number of friends as to how they would measure a life, and I got answers all over the map. I think that the consensus was that it’s those of us who are left behind that want the  reassurance that our loved one “lived a good and full life”. Obviously, once you’re dead, it really doesn’t matter to that person. On my mother’s last day in the nursing home, as I sat by her side, many of the staff members who had worked with her came in to say goodbye. Over and over I heard that my brother, sister, and I she felt were her biggest accomplishments. That was comforting to hear (and I already knew) how much my mother loved us all. However, for myself, who has no children (except for the 3,000+ that I taught over the years), what am I leaving behind? Do I need to leave anything behind? Do I have to justify the space and resources that I’ve used up on this planet? As you can see, I have many questions to mull over as I come to terms with my mother’s death. Perhaps some answers will follow on these pages.

What criteria would you use to measure a life? Does a life have to even be measured? I’d love to hear your answers, and I imagine that they are others in the community who have experienced  loss who would be interested also.

Why not leave a comment as to your thoughts on this posting. Please take a minute and fillout the form below and share your ideas with the rest of us. We all grow when we share our thoughts and impressions, so why not join our growing community of those who appreciate learning about our inner selves and the intricacies of healing work. We’d love to hear from you! Also PLEASE tell like-minded souls about this blog. We’d love to have them join us, too.

You can find out more about my healing work in the other information on this site, about my artwork on my web site at (be patient as it loads; it’s worth it), and can find me on Google + , Facebook (for Transition Portals), Facebook (for Fiber Fantasies),  and Twitter.

About Nancy Smeltzer

I'm passionate about long distance spiritual and alternative healing, having had a successful practice now for over ten years. My clients work with me over the phone and on Skype from all over the USA and Canada, as well as Switzerland, Russia, and Australia. I specialize in helping people heal their negative repeating patterns of behavior and remove the stuck energy in their unconscious minds. By doing that, they can quit going round and round in circles,. repeating the same mistakes, and move forward to having the life of their dreams. Besides my holistic healing practice, I've also been professionally creating art quilts and other fiber arts for over 30 years. My specialty is contemporary beaded art quilts. On my web site, I bill myself as the "Self Proclaimed Button and Bead Queen of Maryland (USA)." My recent works have images that are based on what I see when I tap into a person's energy field and are called Meditation Gardens. These visionary art pieces are the perfect place for that person to play and meditate. In my spare time, I'm a rabid, avid "dirty nails" gardener, composing scenes with plants. Sometimes, I come inside so dirty that my clothes have to go straight into the washing machine; they're too dirty for the dirty clothes hamper! -The Official Google + site for Nancy Smeltzer
This entry was posted in Nancy's Experiences and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to How do you Measure a Life? Understanding the Meanings of a Death

  1. Chris says:

    Reply by Anne WondraHi Nancy – I wasn’t able to pull up your blog. My next session for women in work trtsiianon is on career and money well-being, and your blog sounds like a timely resource to include. Can you send me a link. Thanks much and enjoy your day. – Anne

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title="" rel=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>