Death comes as the end

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Actress Isabel Granada’s sudden demise at the young age of 41 left many stunned—she was beautiful, fit, and apparently healthy, but now irrevocably, sadly, dead.

Her Instagram account (@isabelgranada21) shows she took a lot of exercise. She played volleyball and badminton and engaged in other outdoor activities. She wore a bikini and showed off rock-hard abs. She ate healthy, advising that people limit added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium. She could have been the poster girl for any anti-aging or wellness campaign. Yet cardiac arrests and an aneurysm took her away.

According to reports in another major newspaper, Granada’s relatives shared that the actress, while a health buff, would sometimes complain of dizziness and headaches. Was this a symptom of some malady? Or only stress and fatigue? Could she have been saved if she had a comprehensive checkup?

When someone so young and healthy dies, we are taken aback. We would expect the unwell, the sedentary, the overweight, those much older, to be at greater risk—and indeed they are, by the usual medical standards.

So what are we to make of this occurrence?

At the very least, it makes us confront the spectre of our own mortality. Those of us who are of the same age as Isabel Granada, those who had crushes on her and watched her films, will think, “That could happen to me.” Those who struggle with weight, poor eating habits, and smoking, might think that health precautions are futile. Those who are already at greater medical risk might think, “Will my time come sooner or later?”

Cultures around the world have different attitudes towards death. Even within a society, those attitudes differ. Some accept death with equanimity, others rage against the dying of the light. But the truth is that death is inevitable—it will all come for us. We just do not know when.

The question is, what do we do in the time remaining? Is it unnecessary to keep our bodies fit? Shall we eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die?

Here’s one answer—let us be and do the best we can. We need to stay healthy, not only for better quality of life, but so that we can continue to take care of our loved ones and enjoy their company. We need to be involved with the causes that inspire and touch us so that our life will have meaning. And when we work for others with compassion and a sense of purpose, in the end people will bless our memory.

As Granada’s life showed, death can come at any time, without warning. What she left is a legacy of a life filled with purpose and meaning. She loved, laughed, kept busy, and made others around her happy. If anything, her story encourages us to pause and reflect—what if that were us? What would we change about our habits, our day-to-day interactions with the people around us?

Which brings me to those who are deliberately unkind and cruel—the likes of Mocha Uson, RJ Nieto, Sass Sasot. Even lawyer Bruce Rivera, a former member of their cohort, has distanced himself from them as their attacks become even harsher, more strident, and unhinged. What have they to look back on at the end of their lives?

But while there’s life there’s hope, the saying goes, and it’s never too late for anyone to change. It takes insight—a looking inward at the self to take an honest assessment—and mindfulness—being self-aware and as such being able to control impulse.

It’s not an easy nor comfortable process—many people shy away from delving into their psyches, afraid to find the hurts and issues they have buried deep. Sometimes it’s like picking at a scab to reveal the wound beneath. Ultimately, what it takes is a desire for the truth. If you discover what hurt you, will that keep you from hurting others?

If there is another lesson here in Granada’s passing, how about this: What do you want people to remember about you when you are gone? Will you be remembered for hatred you spread or for the love you shared?

Dr. Ortuoste is a California-based writer. FB: Jenny Ortuoste, Twitter: @jennyortuoste

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