I often use writing as a way to express my thoughts and emotions, and I figured that I would share this with this month’s readers but also as a way to talk about August and what is exactly going on with this crazy month. This blog post will be talking about death, and therefore is an extremely sensitive topic. I will be sharing my experiences as well as talking about the topic in general so I’m sincerely sorry if reading this post brings up memories and emotions. If you are not comfortable reading about this chosen topic, please do not continue. Be strong readers, I know we can together.
Growing up, I didn’t quite accept the idea of death. I knew that life began and life ended, I knew that all things grew up, got old, and eventually died. The closest I had experienced death were my dead fish and my hamster when it passed away. Then again, I had practically no emotional connection to these animals and therefore their deaths were not very traumatic for me. I also knew growing up that sometimes things happen that cause people to die unexpectedly. Whether this be a car accident, an illness such as cancer, or the choice to take their own life, the idea of death is a far broader topic than any of us can truly comprehend. However, the idea was still totally distant, and also so terrifying that I refused to think about it.
When someone passes away, everything suddenly changes. You find yourself struggling to figure out things for the funeral arrangements, pronouns suddenly shift to pass tense; he “was”, she “was”, they “were”. Whether it takes you seconds or months to realize, someday you suddenly recognize that the individual can never come back, no matter how much you and everyone else misses them. You realize that you won’t see them again in this life, you will never hear their laugh or feel their presence. This is probably the hardest thing to accept.
I wish there was something I could say, something I could do, to make it all better.
Recently someone very close to me passed away, and though the individual had been very ill for some time, it was still a shock. Just the day before, I was sitting across from them, playing my guitar and singing Edelweiss. Just like that, life can be taken away, gone. You go through all the stages. Shock, numbness, sadness, anger, confusion, and then deep sorrow. You may be angry at the world for taking away someone so important, someone so young, someone with so much potential and life left. I know I was. But shaking my fist at the universe was pointless… Nothing could bring back what I missed most. The only thing left to do was grieve by living life the way they would want me to.
About a week ago I had the opportunity to attend a leadership conference, where I had some life changing experiences. In one session we were asked to rate the top 10 most important things in our lives. My number one was health, both mental and physical, because those are the two biggest factors to death and loss. Without that health, it doesn’t matter how much money you have, how much fame, how many memories and things to look forward to. You really have nothing. So let’s think back to May and June.. How important is mental and physical health? My second most important thing is today. What I mean is that now matter what moment you are in, today is the most important. Today is the day that you’re living in, today is right now. Today has so much potential. Of course there’s things to look forward to, there’s past events to mentally relive and reminisce about. But today is a day you’ll never ever get back. So today is important. I want to live each day to the absolute fullest. It means that every second I want to be doing something I love or I feel is benefitting me. I’m learning to look forward to everything as well as how to balance myself and my life. I want you to do the same. Take a look at all the things you want to accomplish, are you proud of how you’re living your day?
What I’ve learned from all of this is that life is fragile, and that it can be taken away from you in the blink of an eye. You never know, and that’s the scary part. Honestly the idea of death terrifies me and always has. But what I’ve learned is to not anticipate death, but to spend each moment loving and embracing life. After a very scary situation last year regarding physical health I realized that each day is precious. But we can embrace it and live it to the fullest because each is a day we shall never have back.