Sooner or later, death comes to visit us all. No matter how much we deny it, we can’t escape it. Hopefully, it is patient – waiting quietly in the wings as we live life brilliantly. But often, it is an impatient companion… touching us too soon and demanding that we feel its presence.
Death and I first met in 8th grade over Easter vacation. It announced itself when my choir director called. I remember Miki as a quiet, bright young girl who sent me 10 candy grams that Valentines Day, as she knew I had not received many the year before. She left suddenly and too soon. And since that day, I’ve met Death too many times. Generally, it’s been unwelcome but expected.
But tonight, my heart aches for a friend of mine. He’s lost a brother.
Last night, a young man laid down to rest. He didn’t get up this morning.
There is no reason. No cause. Just a few words to his loved one, and then silence.
Perhaps in the coming days or weeks, there will be an answer. Why? There will still be pain, and there will still be those last words.
Death expected allows us to prepare. Something like this though is a visceral reminder of how fragile life is. How brief. How words matter.
When I became a parent, I “prepared”. I wrote wills, established trusts – documenting the who, what and how of the days and months after I am gone. But what about the days before? Am I ready? Are you?
We take life for granted. Our routines are comfortable. We wander through the days and years of our lives, going through the motions. Enjoying things. Wasting things. Wasting time. Wasting words.
Words have great power.
The last words I said to Miki years ago were “see you in a week.” That never happened.
The last words I typed to a friend of mine who died in a car crash were “Love ya.” Those were good.
The last words I said to my Gramma were an apology, and “I’ll come next weekend instead.” I will regret those forever.
Last night, someone said words that were final. I hurt for the people who love him.
They say that actions speak louder than words. But words matter. Yours matter. Share them. Don’t regret them.
We say in my home lately, “practice being kind, not always being right.” But share your kind words too. Be generous. Give more. Give back. Time may be great or it may be scarce. I’m reminded again. When your journey on this earth is through, there will be many people who love you that are left behind. Many miles they would travel to be where you are then, but tonight, they are only a breath away.