Should we grieve more for one person and not another?
Is the death more tragic if it is a young mother, or if it is an old spinster?
Is it more sad if a child dies or if an adult dies having never really lived?
Is it more tragic if a famous person or an unknown dies?
All deaths are meaningful. All deaths are sad. All are different. The homeless woman’s death is just as important as the Queen’s. Death will take us all. Death is the great equalizer. Death wins.
We can pretend that death is far away. We can pretend that it will happen another day, to another person. We are special. We are different.
We aren’t. All of us are going to die, one way or another. Like it or not, you can’t escape it. You can’t take your toys with you. There are no guarantees of life, no do-overs.
Tomorrow never comes.
Until it does. Don’t take it for granted. Take it as a gift. Don’t waste it.
Every day is a new gift. Every day is another chance. Make that phone call. Write that book. Start that search for the job where you feel useful and needed and worthwhile, where you get to do what you feel called to do. Go back to school. Whatever. Or learn how to be happy where you are.
One of my friends from high school died today. She was in her mid 40s. Young. With children. A beautiful soul. We hadn’t seen each other since then, and had only recently found each other in the past few years on Facebook. She had brain cancer. Cancer is a terrible way to go. It eats you up, slowly transforming your cells into cancer cells. The treatment is barbaric. Slash and burn, poison and cut. Sometimes the treatment is worse than the disease.
Sandy and I first knew that we had something in common while we were in Economics class. We were bored. We were sitting several rows apart. Somehow I caught that she was quietly singing a Violent Femmes song with a friend of hers. I knew it – and I started singing along. “I take one, one, one cause you left me, and two, two, two for my family…” I knew it, and I was in. I had the secret code that let her know I was weird. Once you were in, you were there. We were great friends after that. The last thing I remember doing is going trick-or-treating with her and two other friends. We were too old to go, really, but we went anyway. Sandy drove, and we picked the rich neighborhoods for our hunt that night. We did well.
I’m grateful to have known her. I’m sad, not really for me, but for her family. I hadn’t seen her in many years. We’d grown apart, like people do. Her loss won’t hurt me as much as it hurts them. But I hope to remember something of her spark, her spirit, her smile. She was funny, and snarky, and smart, and beautiful in all the right ways.
Rest in peace, Sandy Scott. May your memory be a blessing to all who knew you.