Death Always Has a Way of Reminding Us What’s Really Important

I got a huge slap in the face from reality today.

While I was at work, I found out that a guy I was friends with in high school passed away suddenly in his sleep. This guy was young, healthy, smart (he was a nurse and going for his masters), so kind, funny…and boom, gone. It didn’t feel real. How does this happen?

I was trying to keep my composure during work because I hate getting emotional in front of people, but I wanted to know more, so I started going through Facebook, gathering whatever details I could, and I came across his girlfriend’s Facebook post–I completely lost it. I power walked to the bathroom and just started sobbing in the stall.

Death is always tragic, so obviously, I was heartbroken over this, even though he and I hadn’t spoken or seen each other in years. But I still found myself tremendously affected, more so than I would have anticipated, and I realized it was partly because of what happened and partly because his death was a reality check.

We hear about people dying every day. We know we’re all going to die one day. Yet, when it happens to someone we know, it’s the biggest shock in the world. And that never changes.

One of my biggest fears in the world is losing someone I love, which seems unfair because it’s inevitable, but I read his girlfriend’s post and I just hurt for her in a way that I couldn’t describe. I’ve never even met the girl. How do you move on from this?

I instantly began thinking of the people I love. I text a few to let them know I love them, which didn’t seem too weird on their end because I do it often, but it was deeper this time.

Death doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t matter if you’re a horrible person or Mother Teresa, if you eat cheeseburgers or kale salad, if you say your prayers every night or don’t even believe in religion–when it’s your time to go, you’re gone. And that is so terrifying.

We always hear, “Live today like it’s your last.” But how many of us really do that? How many of us really make the most of each day? How many of us would be full of regret when death knocks on our door? How many of us would be completely content?

I kept thinking about my relationships with people–Is there anything I need to say to someone? Is there anything still lingering on my mind? In my heart? If they died tomorrow, would there be something I wish I told them? If I died right now, would there be any last words I’d wanna say?

It’s all very overwhelming, I know, but I truly try to do this every day. I don’t give a shit about don’t text him or you sound crazy or you can’t say that, you’ll scare him off. Oh really? I don’t care. I. DON’T. CARE. Because I’d much rather look like a fool and say what’s on my heart than ever have to look back and say, “I wish I told them.”

Not many of us can say that.

Regardless, I always have more to say. And I don’t know if I’ll ever really say everything that’s on my mind and in my heart. But I write. I write a lot. And when that day comes for me, I’m happy to know that at least some of those thoughts and emotion will continue to roam this world long after I’m gone.

To the wonderful Francis Gandia, I’m sure you didn’t expect me to cry for you. You definitely didn’t expect me to write about you. But here I am. I watched you from a distance, as most do now, thanks to social media, and I was proud of the man you were becoming. So wise. So full of life. I wish I would have told you I was proud of you, even though you heard it time and time again from all of the people who love you. My heart and prayers go out to your loved ones. I can only imagine what they’re going through, but I know your spirit is still here and I hope that you see just how many people you touched in such a short time. RIP.

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