“Don’t be afraid of death; be afraid of an unlived life. You don’t have to live forever; you just have to live.” ~Natalie Babbitt
My friend died recently.
I saw him just a few hours before he died too. He stopped by my office as he had done numerous times before to say hello. I’d seen him go through various challenges and come out better. His life was great, and the future looked bright. And I was happy for him because he had worked so hard to get to this place.
My friend died that night in a freak accident.
I was stunned. Why him? Why now when he had so much to live for?
As I was dealing with the sadness and shock of this sudden loss, I remembered the gift of life and the precious few moments we had with each other.
I hope these reminders will help you treasure each moment with yourself and with others:
1. Slow down.
Most of us live our lives like someone who always drives on the freeway. We get to our destinations faster, but when we avoid the slower country roads, we miss out on the beauty of the land and the people.
We get so caught up in our busy schedules and our to-do lists that we lose out on the ordinary moments that we often disregard as meaningless or unproductive.
When my friend died, the realization that I would never experience his impromptu visits again hit me hard. I just assumed I would see him the next day, as I had done countless times before.
I now understood how precious the moments we did have were. I understood that beauty is in each moment of my own life—that I don’t have to wait for the peak moments to feel alive, happy, or loved. I can slow down and enjoy all the blessings of being alive right now.
2. Learn to talk about death.
Our society doesn’t face the reality of death too well. We live like we will never die. We fail to plan and prepare. We put off the important things until it’s too late.
Why? It’s scary to talk about, and it’s emotionally taxing to think about.
I remember being intensely afraid of death as a child. I’d been to a few funerals, and the sight of dead bodies was something that haunted me. Sometimes I still struggle with thinking and talking about death until it hits close to home.
The sudden death of my friend reminded me of why talking about death with your loved ones is so important. If I died today, will my family be taken care of? Will my spouse know my funeral and burial wishes?