It’s not often that my brother sounds so solemn. I didn’t realize he was about to share something with me that months later would still be on my mind.
The details aren’t really important, although as with all freak accidents they do tell us that life is very fragile and none of us are exempt from unexplained and unexpected tragedies.
How many times do we wonder, after we get into a car accident, what would have happened if we had left the house five minutes earlier? How many times do parents second-guess their decisions when giving their child permission to travel, when the trip ends in tragedy? How often do we leave someone in anger, only to find out later it would be the last time we saw or spoke to them?
I have many friends who always say ‘I love you’ before ending a phone conversation. They give their kids, parents and close friends a warm hug when greeting them or leaving them. This way, there are ‘less’ regrets if anything should happen.
My brother’s friend will forever regret the decision to NOT turn off the TV and take a walk with his live-in girlfriend and dog. He did ask her to wait for 10 minutes, and she did choose to go ahead anyway; however, that really doesn’t matter much to him now.
My brother’s friend finished his show, turned the TV off, and walked out of his house to come across a group of people surrounding his girlfriend who was lying on the sidewalk in a pool of blood.
The dog had leaped to cross the street, the girlfriend fell, hit her head on the cement and went into a coma that she died from minutes later.
In the past few years, several people I am close with have lost friends and family members. I am not unfamiliar with loss. I am not quite certain why this death has affected me so much. I barely know the man and I never met his girlfriend.
What I do know, however, is that I want to call everyone I care about and tell them how important they are to me. I want to tell them I love them.
For my brother’s friend, it is too late. Without a crystal ball. Without an exit date. Without any clue when we will leave this life, it is nearly impossible to ‘cover’ all that should be expressed. We can only live our lives and hope that those we love know they are loved.
It isn’t the holidays, birthdays and special occasions that are the most important. It is, however, the day-to-day encounters and conversations we have that let the people in our lives know how important they are to us.
Although I believe I do a decent job of telling my friends and family how much I love and value them, I decided to ‘kick-it up a notch.