In the last year and a half, my hometown has lost two people from my graduating class. They were sudden, surprising deaths of two people I've known since I was five years old. Each time, people came together, Facebook posts were written, and fundraiser accounts were created. But it never gets easier.
To lose people, so young, only in their early 20s...it's impossible to put feelings into words. And sure, I've known these people for so long, but my sadness can't hold a light to the pain their close friends and family are feeling. I hope they find peace.
Although I knew these people, I only feel like an outsider receiving one message: life is fleeting.
My husband and I were just discussing life's unpredictability just the other day. I opened up to him and told him how scared I am of death. I said that as I get older, I'm beginning to comprehend mortality, even my own. I told him I'm worried to lose loved ones; I'm scared of things completely out of my control.
After all, life is fleeting.
My husband told me I can't be scared of death. I can't know when it will happen, or who it will affect. Instead, he said, I need to appreciate every day and tell everyone how much I love them. Be there for them. Remember people when they're gone, and live every day I have to live, no matter how simple or insignificant that day may seem. Seems simple enough, right? But it was something I needed to hear from someone else in order to completely understand.
So I'm taking time to remember those we've lost, and the memories we shared. Those memories that included walks together home from school, or the bloody nose I got before he once took me on a date. (It didn't work out, but he was still kind.) I remember study sessions at the bookstore, and Guitar Hero jams in his basement. Our moments together were brief, but they left an impact. Such people with old souls and kind hearts will never be forgotten.
I'm realizing that life is fleeting, and life is precious. Tell people you love them, that you need them, and that you appreciate them. It will change lives.