Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about death.
I don’t mean to be morbid. But recently I was slapped in the face with the cold hard fact that we live here in finite terms. You can play by all the right rules. It doesn’t matter. It’s coming for you and for me.
The sneak attack, the blitzkrieg, the slow spiral. It comes in many forms. I’ve seen them all. It’s somewhat hard to escape.
I’ve held hands with those dying. I’ve comforted the family of those passed. And most recently, I lost a close friend.
I don’t care so much about me. But I do care when it happens to those I love. This isn’t altruistic. It’s quite selfish. I like the people in my life to hang around.
You have probably been told to live as if today is your last day. But I think we should live as if today is everyone else’s last day. How would that change us? What would our interactions be like? What words would we use with other people? our children? our spouse? our friends?
Death brings a strange gift to those still living.
What would happen if we stopped worrying about things out of our control?
What if we had the courage to do things that we wanted to do, not afraid of what other people think?
What if we let anxiety about the future just slip away, and we lived content in the present moment? Accepting fate as it came.
We can’t go back and change the past. We can’t add more time. We can’t change the way we were. But, we can change the NOW. We can be present. We can love more fully. We can focus on the things in our control and not dwell on those outside of it.
And maybe that’s what I’ve been doing lately. Maybe I’ve been thinking too much about death and not enough about life.
Because I can’t change death, but I can change life.
I can be there for others. I can listen. I can help.
I can do more for myself as well. I can read more, write more, learn more. I can grow. I can laugh. I can surround myself with people that make me happy. I can say no to things that weigh me down and yes to things that bring joy.
I refuse to waste this precious time, for I don’t know how much of it is left.
I was at a funeral recently. A celebration mass at a catholic church. At one point, we were all standing up and holding hands. I was staring at the picture of one of my best friends and holding the hand of another. I couldn’t help but think: This is the life after death. We are living it now. I am not saying it in some type of religious way. I am not talking about heaven. I am just talking about now. Today. What we have left of ourselves, our family, our friends, and our little time.
This is the gift that death brings. It opens our eyes to life.