Death doesn’t discriminate.
We like to believe that it settles its grip solely on the sick or elderly, choosing to deny that the young and healthy can be claimed by it too. But, regardless of how much life we believe someone has in front of them, death just doesn’t care.
It’s a truth that is always hard to swallow.
It’s so easy to move through our days assuming the people who are here today will still be here tomorrow. We think they are safe from the clutches of death because they are active and vibrant. Or because they are just plain good people and deserve a long life. Or maybe because they have big plans for the future and are born world-changers. Or maybe it’s because they are young, perhaps in the very beginning stages of life with what should be an entire life ahead of them. We make predictions based on assumptions and draw our own conclusions as to who will be next to cross the threshold of the Pearly Gates – but one thing we convince ourselves of is that it won’t happen tomorrow.
We tell ourselves they’ll die someday, but never tomorrow, and certainly not today. Especially when we just saw them yesterday or are planning to see them next week. But sometimes it’s the people we most expect to see tomorrow that don’t make it past today.
It’s an awful thought, I know, but death doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t care about our intentions or some-days. And we tend to forget that as we go about our ever-busy lives.
I don’t say these things to create a sense of guilt, but more to encourage the expression of gratitude for this life and that of those around us. For as long as we have breath, let us come together and be good to each other. Let us laugh. And love. Not in a big, fancy sort of way, but in an everyday life sort of way.
Pick up the phone and talk to your people. Like, actually talk. I know, I know, texting has taken care of all that nonsense. But you don’t know when it will be your last chance to hear their voice.
Invite them over, even when it’s inconvenient and your floors are covered in three weeks worth of crumbs and who-knows-what-else. Trust me, they won’t care. They’ll be happy just to be welcomed in.
Make the plans, whether for fun or simply obligation. And then follow through. Treat them to a movie. Drive them to a doctor’s appointment. Accept their offer to buy you that coffee. Bring them a meal. Go on a walk and let nature weave your souls together.
Host the holiday gathering, or travel to one. Even if it is a serious drag and so much work (because trust me, I know it is.) But it’s worth it, you know? There might be one less person at the table next year.
Touch, hug, appreciate their breath and beating heart. And then share yours. Celebrate. Cry. Share the heartache and hope that is intertwined in this life. Be there for your people.
Because when we say “there’s always tomorrow,” we’re fooling ourselves. For some, tomorrow will be too late. So make today beautiful for someone else while you still can.