Saturday, October 28, 2017

Death is a reminder of what’s important


By Christine Chacha

I got a shocker this week when I logged into Facebook; I found out a longtime friend I was in high school with had passed away suddenly from birth related complications. Only a few week before she had posted pictures of her baby shower surrounded by family and friends. She was very young, healthy, and so full of life…and then boom, she’s gone. It didn’t feel real. How did this happen? I started going through Facebook, gathering whatever details I could, and I completely lost it when I found out she had left her day old baby. I just sobbed my heart out.

Death is always tragic, more so when it happens to a woman who was just about to have a baby and looking forward to life. I was completely heartbroken over the news despite the fact that we hadn’t spoken or seen each other in years. But I still found myself tremendously affected more than I would have anticipated, and I realized it was partly because of the circumstances of her death and partly because her death was a reality check for me.

We hear about people dying every day and we know we’re all going to die one day yet, when it happens to someone we know, it’s the biggest shock in the world. One of my biggest fears is losing someone I love, which seems crazy because it’s inevitable, but as I read her husband’s posts on Facebook I felt his pain in a way I cannot describe. How do you move on from this? Where and how will he find the strength? How will he cater for a new baby after losing his wife?  I couldn’t get the answers.

I instantly began thinking of all the people I love and what I would do if I lost any of them. I called my parents and texted a few of my friends to let them know I love them (I do it often, but it was deeper this time). Sometimes we take our loved ones for granted because they are here without realizing we could lose them anytime. Death doesn’t discriminate, it doesn’t matter if you’re a horrible person or Mother Teresa, if you eat healthy or live on burgers, if you say your prayers every day or don’t believe in God –when it’s your time to go, you’re gone. And that is so terrifying.

We always hear, “Live today like it’s your last.” But how many of us really do that? How many of us really make the most of each day? How many of us would be full of regret when death knocks on our door? How many of us would be completely content?

I have been thinking about my relationships with people ever since–Is there anything I need to say to someone? Is there anything still lingering on my mind? In my heart? If they died tomorrow, would there be something I wish I told them? If I died right now, what would people say and think about me? It’s all very overwhelming, I know, but I truly thought about it.

To my friend Gwen, I’m sure you didn’t expect me to cry for you. You definitely didn’t expect me to write about you. But here I am. I watched you from a distance, as most do now, thanks to social media. I wish we talked more and I would have told you how proud I was of the woman you were becoming. My heart and prayers go out to your loved ones especially your husband and child. I can only imagine what they’re going through, but I know your spirit is still here to guide and strengthen them. I wish you could see just how many people you touched in such a short time. RIP.