I spent most of this morning pulling together a sympathy notice for a co-worker who passed away.
I didn’t know him.
Here’s what I do know. He lived in a distant city. He got up. He had breakfast. He kissed his wife and kids goodbye.
On the drive to work, something was wrong, and he knew it. He slowed down. He pulled over. He parked his car on the side of the road.
Some time later, police found him slumped in the driver’s seat. They rushed him to the hospital. He died soon after.
He was forty-three years old.
His story makes me unbearably sad.
* * * * *
I think about my own day.
I got up, I showered, I dressed. I ate breakfast with the love of my life. I pulled on my coat. I got a quick peck on the cheek. I headed to work.
When this other fellow did all these things, he had no idea he was doing them for the very last time.
He won’t ever have a quiet morning at home again.
* * * * *
I have many flaws. I spend money too easily. I hold grudges. I neglect my art. Despite being given much, I am, I think, too selfish. I have a problem finishing what I start.
That said, when the day comes that I don’t make it home, there is one quality that I will be able to say was always a part of my approach to life: I am a grateful person.
I have lived, for the most part, a charmed life. I’m grateful for that. I have a wonderful, healthy, loving, patient, husband. I’m grateful for that. I have a good home, and a good job, and good bosses, and satisfying work to do. I’m grateful for that. I have good friends — true friends — and I’m grateful for that.
I can honestly say that, every day, I walk around stunned by the love and beauty and joy that flows so freely around me.
I don’t deserve any of this, and I never, ever take these blessings for granted. I am deeply, truly thankful for them.
And I am always aware, on some level, that I will not always have these places, these people, this work, this time, this life — and that makes me love them all the more.
* * * * *
Today, take some time to acknowledge what you’ve been given.
Appreciate the blessings.
Hold your people close.
Give your sweetie a squeeze.
Be grateful for the time.
Everything is fragile.