I’ll start this off by saying I’ve been very lucky in that it was late in my teens, I may have even been 20 years old, before I truly felt the affect of someone close to me passing away. There are plenty of folks out there who have had the unfortunately experience of learning about death when they are very young. I definitely count it as a blessing from above, and to those of you had to learn about death as a youngster, it could be that God knew you were strong enough to handle it. I don’t think I was, so I applaud you in whatever effort you’ve made to cope, to overcome, and to live on with their memory.
One of my first experiences was when my mom’s aunt passed away. We called her Sister. Sometime around then Belle, our family dog went. As time marched on, both sides of my grandparents passed away and I still think about all of them pretty much every day, especially today on Me-Mom’s birthday. So proud to have her last name as my middle name, an easy way to be reminded of her and the great memories I have of one of my favorite four grandparents 🙂
Then there were the unexpected ones, right? Friends from high school. Friends from college. Folks that weren’t supposed to go so soon. For me, it was a guy I knew from FSU. My brother mentioned to me one day that this guy had died. I wasn’t close to him or anything, but he was part of the outer circle of friends for my brother and I. In fact, he’s in this video of us all biking in Tallahassee.
Friends are diagnosed with cancer. One was almost in an airplane crash. It was so much of a sure thing, the airline pilot came on the intercom and said to prepare for a crash. Crazy, right? Thankfully, they didn’t crash. Another college friend, who was younger than me, died of cancer. Then a few years ago someone I knew from church died tragically.
Then there are all the celebrities. I was visiting family in Tallahassee when I got a text from a friend: “Steve McNair found dead.” He was an NFL quarterback for the Tennessee Titans. Of course, there’s Michael Jackson, Prince, and so many more.
Now, as I’m getting older, and still growing up 🙂 it seems that with every story I hear of a loved one passing, or just someone in the news, I think to myself, “Gosh, life is short! I thought we were all gonna live forever. What am I doing today? What is important? What am I waiting for?”
I ask those rhetorically for the most part, but often find myself reflecting on the years I’ve spent on this earth, and becoming more and more aware that time is ticking away. For me. For you. For everyone. We only have 100 years or less, so make the most of it, is what I say! Save money but don’t sacrifice relationships to build a bank account. Spend more. Have fun. Go dancing. Take that overseas trip if you want to. Ask the girl out. Ask the guy out. Cuddle with your dogs. Laugh. Get a tattoo. Do encourage people around you, but don’t buy that motorcycle. 😉
A few years ago there was a guy who was walking across the country, a young guy, maybe in his 20s. He was asked on the news why and I don’t remember his exact answer, but he said something like, “Why do we waste so many years preparing for the last few?” Hello!!!! He was referring to saving for retirement, waiting till you retire to travel, all that stuff. He’s a smart guy. I thought that was fantastic.
So as I hear stories about people I know and/or loved that have passed away, I know it’s OK to be sad about it. When beloved celebrities succumb to that final curtain call, we should celebrate their lives and how they positively changed the world. Do all of that for the ones you love, too.
Then let’s go live.
Finally, a happy birthday to Me-Mom
-Out of the Wilderness