What is it about finding out that an old classmate in high school died that makes you feel your mortality? Today I popped on to my Facebook only to be greeted by a message on our High School’s memorial page that a former classmate, one I didn’t even know that well, passed away. Not even 40…and the second one to die suddenly within the last year or so (the last one died of a brain aneurysm and I was pretty good friends with his twin brother).
Being a modern girl, I googled him…wondering what happened. My former classmate, Chris, died due to head injuries he’d sustained in a fall while hiking in a state park in Arizona with his dog. I wondered…was he alone when he fell? How long did it take for someone to find him?
This also choked at me, though, because around 20 years ago, another friend…Allison…went hiking with her boyfriend and some other friends…also in a state park…this time in Tennessee. They were jumping over a ravine. Alli, always the athletic type, went to make the jump. She slipped and fell backwards and she fell. She was 19 or 20 years old…nothing anyone could’ve done.
Normally, things like this would weigh heavily on my heart…(I’m often a deep river playing at being a rippling brook) But this time is a bit different. Is it tragic that these folks died way too young? Absolutely. But you know…they died doing something they enjoyed…something they were passionate about! They didn’t sit around waiting for life to happen. They reached out and grabbed it by the horns!
I still remember back in the early 90’s, getting a call from my cousin in Michigan on a Saturday at around 8am. Calls from family that early never bode well, so I answered quickly. It was my oldest cousin, Anita.
Anita: Hey cuz.
Anita: So I’ve got some news about Grandma.
Me: Oh, gosh (Grandpa and my Great grandmother had just passed away back to back in the last year).
Anita: Take a breath…she’s ok.
Me: Well, geez! You could’ve started like that instead of almost giving me a heart attack.
Anita: Well, I thought you should know…she’s in the hospital.
Anita: She broke her hip.
Me: (having grown up around hospitals you kind of know that broken hips on the seniors isn’t good) Oh my gosh! What happened?
Anita: Apparently she was country line dancing and slipped!
Me: (laughing) Oh, gosh! That’s awesome. Leave it to Grandma. Most people her age do that getting out of bed.
Anita: Yeah, she’s kind of bad ass!
Our grandmother finally passed away in her late 80’s, surrounded by family. But you know what stuck with me? She DID things! She didn’t wait for life to pass her by. She enjoyed life. She cherished her friends and family. She wasn’t afraid to keep learning new things regardless of how old she was! (She was in her 70’s when that hip was broken)
Life is too short. It doesn’t matter how young or old you are… Dreams are there to be chased…how else will you ever be able to catch them? If you want to learn to do something…don’t let something like age or fear or embarrassment stop you. Go for it with all you’ve got! Make the life you have one worth living. Too many people die with “woulda, coulda, shoulda’s” and blame everyone but themselves. The truth may be hard to swallow, but the only stumbling blocks we have are the ones we put out there.
What things have you been holding yourself back from doing? What dreams do you have for yourself? How can we help you attain them?
I’m feeling a bit feisty now…so I’ve turned to Billy Idol for help…He knows how to let out that Rebel Yell!