Death interrupted life again last week. A friend I went to high school with passed away after 37 brief years. He was the second person I knew to die this month. Both from cancer. Both in their thirties.
Unfair is a word that I've said and heard several times in the past couple of weeks. And it does seem so. Then you ask why. But some questions don't have answers.
I like to think I'll live a healthy and long life of seventy or eighty years or more. I suppose all of us do. It's easier and more appealing to put thoughts of the brevity and uncertainty of life out of my mind and continue going through the motions. But eventually and inevitably, those realities are brought to the forefront once again.
Every death serves as a reminder, that life is temporary, that people should be cherished, and that time, sweet time is so very precious. But these... these hit harder. Maybe because they were so young, or maybe because I'm getting older. This time the reminder was in big bold letters, and all caps. And it's not fading nearly so fast.
Too often, I act like I have all the time in the world. Like there will always be another day to visit a friend, spend time with Dad, mend hurt feelings or do any of a hundred things that always seem easier to put off until some other someday.
Some years ago, I came to know a girl who was a cancer survivor. She never spoke about it very much, just little bits and pieces here and there. It always struck me how she often seemed to cram as much as she could into her days. She would do more in a weekend than I'd do in two weeks. It was as if she wanted to drink up every last ounce of life and not let a single precious moment go to waste.
I never asked but always wondered if she was like that because of what she had gone through, if by looking death squarely in the eye she had come to realize the immeasurable value of time, and to cherish it as it should always be.
And I wondered why I hadn't, and didn't.
"I loved deeper, and I spoke sweeter, and I gave forgiveness I'd been denying. He said, some day I hope you get the chance to live like you were dying..."