An old friend died yesterday. Massive heart attack. Aged 60. I can only imagine what that must be like, your last precious moments alive spent in pain, desperation and panic. And if we linger, do we spend those extra moments regretting choices we’ve made that brought us to this moment. But it’s too late.
Over the years we lose friends and as each one of them goes, they leave us with lessons. But most of the time those lessons are lost. One of those lessons is about choices.
A great part of our “todays” are made up of the choices we made yesterday, and our tomorrows, of the choices will make today. Will I go for a walk in the park, or stay in my comfortable chair? Will I have a kale salad, or a cheeseburger? Will I spend the day getting in some overtime, or visiting an old friend? Will I worry about things I can’t control, or focus on happiness, and gratitude?
Facing our own mortality is something that, for most people, comes later in life. Of course we all spout platitudes about life being short, and how we don’t live forever, but we don’t really “get it.” It’s only when we face closely the reality of the facts, that we begin to internalize it, to live with understanding, and to make different choices. For many, even this doesn’t do it. They prefer to live in denial.
As for me, I won’t let my friends suffering be in vain, be wasted. I will make sure to spend time reflecting on good times we spent together, on the best moments of our lives. I will remember his good qualities, and forgive the annoyances I perceive him to have caused. I will think about what lessons he taught me with his life and his death. I will remind myself that life is not about money and “stuff”, but about people and experiences. I will make better choices starting today, starting now.
I hope you will too.