On Life, and Death

Life is short.

We hear these words all the time. So much that it has become an empty phrase. We’ve desensitized ourselves to a message that is so vitally important to our being, our morality. When someone says these words to me, my response is usually, “Yeah, I know.” But I don’t really know. I don’t know at all how “short” or “long” life will really be. None of us do.

Recently, death has reared its ugly head in many areas of my life. It has jolted me to the core.

Tonight, I found out that my Uncle George passed away. He was actually my mom’s uncle, and my grandfather’s brother and best friend. If you looked up the definition of “two peas in a pod” you would see both of their grumpy old faces! He was very close to our family. For as long as I can remember growing up he’d walk into any room and say “Where’s my Caity?!” [disclaimer: never, ever call me Caity unless you want to be punched in the face. That nickname is reserved for a very, very, very select few!]. He’d sit next to me and I’d run away because I was a silly, little girl. This tradition continued up until last Christmas which was the last time I saw him. I am sad, but my memories of him make me smile.

Learning this news tonight also made me miss my grandfather. We lost Pappy almost a year ago and all of our lives have changed because of it. He was a family man and loved us all to the core. I seriously miss him everyday.

Additionally, there’s been a recent string of tragic deaths at my alma mater, JMU. In the past 2 months or so, there have been 7 student and faculty deaths.  While I didn’t know any of them directly, the community is grieving. My friends are grieving. One of my school’s mantras is “All Together One“, and that is one of my favorite things about the university. There is a great sense of empathy. Even though I’m hundreds of miles away, I can tell my community and the place I called home is grieving, I am too. These kids were all 18-24 years old, younger than ME. We think we are invincible. It isn’t until tragedy strikes that we all open our eyes and get a dose of reality.

I can ask myself “why?” over and over. But I know that I’ll never find an answer to that question. That scares me. I can’t even lie, death terrifies me. It’s days like today that it hits me: death is a real thing, not just something I see on the news or read about in the paper. My days are numbered and no one warned me. I don’t know what comes after life anymore than I know what I’m going to eat for dinner on this day a year from now. No matter what your beliefs, I think we can all agree that life is, indeed, short.

So what should we do? We can either let death scare us or we can live.

We can enjoy the view.

We can smell the flowers.

We can eat well.

We can drink well.

We can swim during hurricanes.

We can zip down mountain sides.

We can jump out of planes.

We can catch snowflakes.

We can eat copious amounts of chocolate (and not feel bad about it).

We can travel.

We can appreciate home.

We can remember those small, special moments.

We can tell the people in our lives that we love them everyday.

And we can live by the secret of life: do what you want to do. I’m learning more and more everyday that life is too short to second and third guess yourself. Start living and quick.

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3 Comments

  1. Meredith

     /  November 17, 2011

    I love your blogggg! This was a really good post!

    Reply
  2. Thanks for sharing this post Caitlin! Very beautiful and a gentle reminder about the beauty of life. ❤

    Reply
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