The call came while we were on vacation. You know the call…the one where you hear an acquaintance, a friend or a family member has died. Sometimes it’s an expected passing after an illness or, as in this case, an unexpected death. It doesn’t seem to matter whether the death is expected or not, the call is always followed by a feeling of shock and disbelief. How did this happen? How could a person that was so alive and vibrant one moment be suddenly gone in an instant?
It seems to be part of our human condition that we ignore our mortality until those moments where we are brutally reminded of the fragility of life of those around us, and ultimately ourselves. We realize that at any moment, life can be extinguished-young, middle, old- no one can pretend to be immune. So why do we live as if we have all the time in the world? Why do we hold grudges that should be forgiven, let anger overtake compassion, spew hate when we should listen with love? It’s a lesson we forget until the next call that makes us gasp in distress. Another death. Another reminder of our mortality and the choices we make every day as to how to live our best life. Don’t wait until the next call. Live each day with the awareness it is a precious gift.
Someday, a loved one will receive the call about the end of my life. I hope that along with the shock and disbelief, they will be left with the feeling that I fully lived my life, atoned for my mistakes and did not hold grudges. I hope that when I die, my love will be remembered, and my passing will be a reminder to fully live your best life.