Nothing teaches us as much about the brevity of this life as it’s ending. This weekend our community witnessed a boy in my daughter’s graduating high school class take his life. This occurred on the same day that a man recently married to a single mom I had known for years, fell to his untimely death. There are no words that express the loss, shock, sadness, anger, disbelief that course through the survivors of death. We know it exists, but not here, not now, not to us. Including death in our belief system feels like being a traitor to life.
Death occurs to me regularly. I can often get teary as I watch my children walk away from me, or kiss my husband on his sleeping cheek before I leave the house. I don’t want to be morose, but I have known too many of these stories to believe that I will always be exempt. We don’t ever know the last day. And even in the case of those dying slowly in our midst, even then, the last breath surprises us and leaves us alone.
My only solace in this despair, which I think is actually the remedy to our ailing social systems is that we love people more. If you knew that this could be the last time you spoke to someone, someone you loved, you would be kinder and probably say the things you have thought many times. How grateful you feel to be in this life, how proud you are of their process and progress, how relieved to have a friend to walk through time with…
Just say them. Even if you have years more, this will make them sweeter and in the last breath of the last moment you will not regret having not said them. I know that being aware of how short this life is makes you realize that this time we have is a gift. The most precious, most lasting and most important time of all is loving. I really do think it is all that we count or remember.