It spread like wildfire across Facebook last week amongst friends and acquaintances from back home. Thoughts and prayers… many updates read. Thinking of… started others. A sad day… a few stated. It was a tragedy. A high school classmate’s brother lost his life suddenly and it was tragic. Not just for the community it affected but for all those who have ever been a daughter or a son, a parent or a friend. An untimely death. A loss to a family. To friends. To two daughters. And I was saddened by the entire situation.
It is the reality of life. We are born. We live. We die.
But it isn’t that cut and dry, is it?
Absolutely not. Because what we do in between the first and the last, those things matter. No matter who you are, you are touching another. You are impacting a life. Some for the good. Some, not. Some with a greater impact. Others, not. Some with lifelong impact. Others, not. But regardless, your mere existence makes a ripple.
As I learned more about the passing… a father of two young girls, lost in a farming accident…I found my heart heavier. I admittedly hadn’t seen his face in years. But it still just dug too deep. Perhaps partially out of selfishness. Because any loss makes mortality a reality. And for a moment, it makes you question everything. Perhaps because I envisioned the pain that he must have incurred. And it feels so unbalanced for such a good person, who’s lived such a authentic life to endure such tremendous pain. But mostly because I ached for those two young girls. And for his wife. And for his sister. Brother. Parents. It’s a scenario that feels too real. Because I know the faces of the people affected. And I know the goodness in their hearts. And it just feels unfair.
Sadly, as I get older, the amount of times that I’ve watched families lose loved ones, has amassed to more than I like to count. And it’s often the same. At the beginning, people are there. There is an outpouring of support. There is a kindness extended via visits, letters, phone calls and food. There are a lot of hugs. A lot of tears shed over the happiness this life brought to the world. A lot of moments going through the motions, being held up by the whirlwind around in an attempt to not fall to the ground. And, in the most ideal situations, culminates with a service that pays tribute to the ways in which the person who has passed made their lasting ripple in the waters of life.
But after the dust clears, after people resume their normal, those who were directly affected by such loss, are left to deal. To pick up where they left off, even though they can never really find that place. For his sister to hold on tight to the memory of what exactly his face looked like. For his wife to remind herself daily what it felt like to wrap her arms around him so she will never forget. For his brother to recall exactly how his voice sounded when he laughed. For his parents to remember the pride that he brought them. And ultimately for everyone left to explain to two beautiful babies why they won’t get to see their daddy again on this earth.
Because I have faith, I truly believe that at the end of such tragedy, there is a truth and a light. I believe that those who die go on to know better things and a better place than you or I could ever imagine. And I believe that those who were touched by the life, especially a life such as this, are truly more enriched because of it. And for those who simply read the news story or heard a friend talking about the details, I believe it is a message — ringing loud and clear — that you should kiss your babies, say your I love yous, and enjoy the life, blessings and breaths you have… today. This moment.
I have not directly been through losing a parent, sibling, or otherwise. And so I cannot really pretend to know the way it rocks one to the core. I can still call my parents on the phone…email my siblings…facebook my friends…snuggle my babies. But nothing has permanence. And while we cannot live our lives in fear of that, we must recognize it, move forward and be thankful for what we do have. Stop for a second and be thankful. Feel blessed.
While the words are trivial, my prayers, thoughts and love go out to the family who lost Justin. And every time I hear a story like this…or of a teen who passed in an accident…a grandpa who died of cancer…a child who lost his battle… whether I know them or not, I will say a prayer for the family and friends who are living the reality. And to all of you who have known such a loss, I only hope that the memories of those you have loved will be forever in your heart and encourage you to continue to live their legacy every single day of your life.
We are born… and we do die… but everything else, is up to us… live life now. Live it well.
*For those who’ve read BOTB forevs, Thoughtsy Thursday is a regular installment I’ve decided to write in an effort to chronicle the deeper side of life … and leave the funny and real motherhood stuff to the rest of the week:)…so if it’s seemed down and deep lately, it’s only because I’ve decided to dig a bit deeper with some regularity.