Lately there have been a number of tragedies that haven’t directly effected my life but have touched me emotionally. A close friend of my boyfriend’s from high school went missing on Christmas eve and drowned in a creek close to where I go to college. While I hadn’t had a relationship with him personally, I had gone to school with his younger brother and sister and their step dad had coached my high school softball team. I attended his service in support of his family and my boyfriend the week after his body was discovered in the creek. I saw many familiar faces, and among them were people experiencing a heart breaking amount of regret for not staying in touch with their lost friend. I will say that hearing the cries of a mother who had lost her child was the single most horrifyingly painful sound I have ever heard in my life. His close friends celebrated what would have been his 24th birthday the week after his service with a party in his honor, and even though my boyfriend couldn’t attend, I know that he remembers and honors his fallen friend every day.
Today one of my good friend’s former boyfriend passed away. While I know little about his circumstances, I do know that he was young, a year or two out of college maybe, and that he had his entire life ahead of him. My friend hadn’t kept in touch with him after they broke off their relationship, but his passing is extremely hard for her. These deaths were so unexpected that it makes me wonder when I will get my first phone call telling me that I’ve lost someone I love just as suddenly as my friends have lost theirs.
When I think of my old friends and the tragic way that they lost their older brother, it immediately brings me to tears. When I think about the way that his death leaves behind so many unanswered questions and how we never get a fair warning before someone is taken from us, I realize that the only thing we can do to remedy that is to live our own lives well and tell our friends that we love them. To not take those in our lives for granted is the only way to minimize our regret when we lose them.
I was just discussing earlier today how tragedies bring people together and how they are able to put things into perspective for us. Like how the passing of an old friend can make you remember how much you care for people that you haven’t spoken to in months or even years, and how the sudden death of someone can make us cherish our own lives and time on this planet a little bit more. The shame is that most of the time it does take these heart wrenching losses for us to reconnect with people we still care about or to think about the choices that we’ve made. I have always strived to be open with my heart and tell the people that I love that I do so as to not have any regrets later on, but these tragedies always make me wonder if that’s enough.
May all lost souls rest eternally in paradise.