We live in a culture that doesn’t like to talk about death. And yet it’s all around us.
This week, a trainer at the gym where I belong shared that one of his clients died suddenly this week. The client had gotten sick with the flu. He got a migraine. He sent a message to the trainer at 4 pm. By 6 pm he was dead from a brain aneurism.
He was healthy man who did all the right things. He had been a client of this trainer for 7 years. By all accounts a successful man professionally and personally.
Also this week, my brother attended a funeral of a colleague who died in his sleep.
7 years ago, the year I turned 40, two friends of mine died in their sleep. Both were around my age, vibrant, and healthy.
Nobody is immune. Nobody will escape it.
It doesn’t matter how much money you make, how many good deeds you do, what you eat, how much you exercise or meditate.
In a life filled with uncertainty, the only thing that is certain is that you will die.
Realizations like this can feel profoundly depressing.
They can also be our greatest gift.
The unexpected death of young people can serve as a wake-up call.
You will not live forever.
If you knew you would die tomorrow, would you be satisfied with where you are and what you have done so far?
If you knew you had only 30 days to live, what would you change about your life? What message do you want to share?
Do you wake up in the morning with a sense of purpose and urgency to begin your day?
We don’t get to choose when we die.
Or the way people think about us after we’re gone.
The only thing we can control is what we do with our time while we are alive.
As the poet Mary Oliver wrote:
Tell me, what is it you plan to do With your one wild and precious life?