In one eight hour shift I learned that my supervisor’s aunty had passed away, my co-worker who is in Florida on vacation got the horrible news that her mother had crossed over the rainbow bridge in her sleep and that a 25 year-old musician who was part of a popular local band had died too. No explanation yet on what happened to him but he was just 25 years old…life is a gift.
My heart aches for the loved ones of my supervisor’s aunty, of the young man who should have had many more years of making beautiful music and living life here in paradise…and for those who loved my friend’s mom. My friend said that to her knowledge her mother hadn’t been feeling poorly and hadn’t even been sick at all for as far back as she could remember. It was a total shock. Life is a gift and it is random too.
When someone dies unexpectedly it reminds us not to take life or relationships for granted. One of my favorite lessons around this issue came like most of mine, through my little boy Cory. He was eight years old at the time of this particular gem. We had been asked to speak at an alternative school. The administration had gathered all of the middle and high school students and teachers. I believe there were some parents present too. Cory described what it was like to live with leukemia most of his life and how the treatments made him sick but were designed to kill off the evil cancer cells. You could have heard a pin drop.
After we spoke we called for questions. An older teen raised his hand and asked Cory, “How does it feel to know that you are dying?” At this point Cory had not been diagnosed as terminal but he did know his fate. Cory didn’t hesitate or take the time to bat an eyelash when he replied, “The real question is how do YOU feel about living?” The teen sat there frozen unable to speak. Cory went on. “We’re all going to die someday so it isn’t about dying it is about how you live your life. Don’t let little stuff get you down like getting cut off on the freeway or someone bugging you. Just live the best life you can. Be kind and forgiving and you won’t die with regrets. I know I am gong to die soon and I have had a good life. No regrets.”
As you might imagine there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. Rows of students and a goodly number of adults were all wiping their eyes as the lesson sank in. They learned a powerful lesson about living given by an intuitive soon to be declared terminally ill kid who recognized that every moment is precious and should be spent with gratitude imparting goodness and light. He was my kid, my child, a very wise little soul sent to teach me and others that life is indeed a gift. Don’t squander it.