The fragility of life


A little more than a week ago a friend of mine passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. She was 28 years old and on the brink of graduating from law school. She was active in muay thai and loved her pets dearly. The news of her sudden passing made me sick, and this past week has been awful to say the least.  I have not been able to stop thinking about her, and I’m having a hard time coping with the suddenness of all of it.

When I attended her funeral last Wednesday her brother got up to speak. He choked back tears as he reminisced about the days that she was still here on this Earth. That’s when I lost most of my composure, and the tears flowed freely. She was very much loved and respected. In that moment, I thought of my little brother speaking at my funeral and how my mom would most likely buckle at the knees from grief. It makes my heart break into a million tiny pieces just thinking about it. But it’s not because I would be gone–I will be at peace; it’s because my death would make my family and loved ones so sad. That’s the part that breaks my heart. But, I don’t want anyone to be sad for me. I know who I am, and I have done everything I can to live life to its fullest–I have loved another with all of my heart; I have traveled and seen the world; and I have pushed myself past physical, emotional and intellectual limits.

Death is a natural part of life. People die every, single day for various reasons–tragically, abruptly, violently, serenely. It’s the one thing that is absolutely certain and yet so unknown. It’s not until it hits close to home that you really understand and see that we are mortal–we are not infinite; our bodies were not meant to last forever. So, why do we spend so much time on our bodies if we will leave it all behind to rot? Health? Vanity? At the same time, we shouldn’t be careless with ourselves or our bodies because they are the homes for our souls. They are all we have. They are life sustaining. The suddenness of my friend’s death, and the incompleteness of her life reminds me how frail our lives are, how temporary our time here is, and how stupid most things seem in the long run. Worry? Petty arguments? Mundane tasks? Is it really worth it to hold a grudge? The answer to all of this is a resounding no.

The scariest part of death is that it is so unknown. We don’t know how, and we don’t know when. It’s difficult to wrap my head around that sometimes. No one really likes to think about it. Those that have passed are not around to answer any of our questions. Sure, there are plenty of scientific tests that have been done and lots of theories, but those alive will still never know. The causes of death can give us some indication about someone’s last moments on earth–the pain, the fear, or maybe nothing at all. In certain circumstances, death is welcome because it ends the pain.

Just last night, realizing that I was sad, Dan says, “Jen, don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere.” My heart shattered because he really can’t promise me something like that–it’s impossible. All we have is this moment, right here, right now. There are no guarantees.

Rest in peace, Rosemary.


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