Some things in life you accept as being the natural cycle of life. For example, over the holidays my uncle who had cancer for a number of years finally passed away. It wasn’t a nice event to happen, but it wasn’t unexpected. I mourned for his passing, but it’s grief didn’t drag me down.
Other events in your life hit you like a truck. You never saw it coming or even thought about it and it just leaves you dazed and confused. I recently experienced that when I found out a friend of mine’s wife passed away at the age of 34. Shock doesn’t begin to cover it, and we don’t even know what happened except it was unexpected.
Unexpected. The word is so loaded with what might have been it is almost painful to write. Yet I still reached out to my friend who now is a single father of three lovely children and obviously doesn’t have much of a clue how to start to live life without someone who thought you would be there for the new few decades at least. I have problems even imagining being in a similar situation. My wife is like my other half, it would be like missing an arm suddenly…I would keep turning to say something to her or tell her a story only to remember in the end the person I love most in the world would be gone. Horrible doesn’t begin to describe it.
Yet this event as tragic as it was was a reminder to me. A sign post on the road of life. Life is unknown, you can’t plan for it all so you have to live for today as you really never know when it may be your last.
So while I haven’t made any huge changes to my life in the wake of this event I do try to remember to tell people what they mean to me. I tell my children that I love them more. I remember to kiss my wife a bit more than I need to. I remember to say thank you for those little things in your life that aren’t worth living without.
Yet most of all, it reminded me that is so much more to our lives than just a job. It’s only a tiny fraction of what you do and what you mean to the people around you. At someone’s death bed we never talk of they got that sales presentation done on time, or the number of clients they brought in or even what the hell their title was at work. No cares if you came into work on time or barely used your sick leave. No one recalls if you took all your vacation last year or not. It all drops away as it should be and becomes irrelevant. Instead if you read the summary of our lives it notes your entire career in a line or perhaps two. Then we tell of those lives you touched and those people that will miss you.
We aren’t our jobs. We aren’t our careers or titles, our houses, our cars or anything else, but we are remembered for those that we loved and how we made people feel. So remember to let go of your ego and recall what really matters most in life. It isn’t what you are likely spending your time on and it is what you should be spending your time on.
We aren’t our jobs and they don’t actual mean much to us at all in end. Yet in the moment we tend to forget that. We tend to worry about things that really don’t make us happier or wiser or even help the world be a better place.
So don’t blindly save for your future, honour your present as well but most of all don’t lose sight of the why of things. Why do you love those around you? Why do you do your job? Why do you save your money for tomorrow? These why aren’t always easy to find but when that truck hits you in life with the unexpected often in that moment everything is clear and you should try to remember that second where the world made sense and hold on to your why of your life. You will be happier and more at ease because of it.
In the end, the only thing to say is: I’m sorry. May she rest in peace and know she will be missed.