The Effects of Sudden Death

This post has been brewing in my mind for a couple of days, but I’m having a hard time finding the right words maybe because there just aren’t right words…

My aunt passed away suddenly and quite unexpectedly the other week. And I’ve noticed a couple of things. I’ve experienced the reality that tomorrow isn’t promised. In the days immediately following my aunt’s death my family (her daughters and husband) were posting different things on Facebook about grief, and about the reality that tomorrow isn’t promised.

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And as cliche as it may sound or seem, it really is true. Aunt Pam didn’t have a cancer diagnosis or kidney failure or liver failure or known heart disease or any specific “you’re really sick” kinda ordeal where we had some level of warning that the end was near. And that is why the reality that tomorrow isn’t promised feels so real.

It’s inclined me to be less hesitant to reach out to my mom, to call her because I’m having a bad day. It’s inclined me to be more patient with the people I love, to truly lend that listening ear. It’s inclined me to recognize a need to forgive and to want to want to forgive (but I’m a wee bit stubborn and so forgiving is hard).

And I think it is no coincidence that I’ve been reflecting on these things in the days leading up to 9/11 and that most people who will read this will read it on 9/11. September 11, 2001 is a day that so few of us will forget. It’s a day that many innocent lives were lost all at once. But what we forget is that every day people die. (and national suicide prevention day)

Soldiers die in war every day. Sick people die in the hospital every day. Loved ones of families die every day. But we forget about this if it doesn’t directly effect us. It’s so easy to get caught up in our own lives, in our own world, in our own emotions. It’s so easy for me to be mad and upset with my brother because of recent happenings, but the reality is, he could get in an accident tonight or tomorrow. Heck, that’s happened before. I’ve made a midnight trip to the hospital emergency room because he was in an accident and nobody knew why he was as okay as he was. And I would feel guilty for being so upset with him. Death seems to put things in life in perspective – what really matter? is this or that really worth being that upset over?

But the fact of the matter is, tomorrow isn’t promised and we should remember that. We should live our lives like that. We should treat our loved ones like that. I’m not saying it’s easy, by any means. And I fail to live this out every single day, but tomorrow isn’t promised, and we’ve only got today.

Today I encourage you.. I challenge you to give thanks. Give thanks for the gift of your life. Give thanks for the loved ones. If you’re upset with someone don’t let it sit and stew and get worse. Talk to them about it. Tell them what you’re experiencing. If you know you were in the wrong, or even had a hunch you were in the wrong, say something, reach out, apologize. And tell the people in your life that you love them. They need to hear that. We all need reminded that we are not alone. We all need reminded that we are wanted and loved. If we lived our lives this way, I think the world could be a better place.

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