Life and Love

This article was written for this issue of the paper several weeks before the death of Ed Sheehy.{{more}} I offer it as a memorial to him.

I recently attended the funeral of the father-in-law of one of our sons. He was a very loving man and it was a tearful but beautiful event in the sense of listening to his loved ones share stories of his life, which started in Austria and ended in Westchester, New York. I asked to speak also because I wanted to share what I have learned as a physician. The lesson I learned is that there is only one thing of permanence and one way to become immortal and it is through love.{{more}}

I would recommend you all read The Human Comedy by William Saroyan and The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder. They both share much wisdom. Wilder’s book deals with accidental death as the bridge breaks and several people fall to their death while Saroyan discusses the death of a father and a brother who is a soldier and dies during World War II. I can’t help but think about what happened in Boston in a similar way.

Why were they on the bridge? Why were people near the area of the bomb? And why did some people have their lives saved by changing their schedule? There are some who see issues of guilt and punishment as involved but that is not the answer. God isn’t the problem people are. We all have to die one day and again for me death is not something I fear. I have more trouble with life than death. When you leave your body you become perfect again. Yes, there is grief due to separation but we will all be together again one day.

Now to get back to the message for all of you to learn and accept; there is only one thing which is immortal and of permanence and it is love. Not only the above books but a Hindu myth shares the words of a child, who is willing to sacrifice his life, spoken to his parents, “Consider this sooner or later my body will perish at any rate but if it perishes without love, which the wise declare is the only thing of permanence, of what use will it have been?” and “Let me be born again and again on the wheel of rebirth so again and again I may offer this body for the benefit of others.”

Saroyan shares through the mother telling her son that as long as we are alive your father is alive and after the brother dies a friend of the family tells his younger brother that the best part of a good man stays forever. You will see him in the houses and the streets and all the things that are here out of love and for love. The best part of a good man stays forever for love is immortal and makes all things immortal while hate dies every minute.

The last few words again remind me of Boston and what hate does to people and the world. So raise your children to be love warriors and to live what Wilder shares. “And we ourselves shall be loved for a while and forgotten. But the love will have been enough. All those impulses of love return to the love that made them. Even memory is not necessary for love. There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love. The only survival the only meaning.”

Peace, Love & Healing, Bernie Siegel, MD

We currently have a mind, heart and health matters support group for those in need and for caregivers who need support the first Wednesday evening of every month and a cancer support group the second and fourth Tuesday evenings of the month at Coachman’s Square on Bradley Road, Woodbridge. If interested contact Lucille Ranciato 203 288 2839; or myself for details

Dr. Bernie Siegel can be contacted at