Early this morning we received the most devastating news at work. Our colleague had tragically passed away early in the morning while undergoing treatment in the hospital. Worse still, she was 6 months pregnant. Honestly speaking, I am still in shock even as I write this. I look around at everyone in a daze, the news not really sinking in yet because I keep waiting to wake up and find it was all a vivid cruel dream.
All around me people keep asking, Why her? She was at the prime of her life, all her dreams ahead of her, full of life and laughter, so why her? Someone even wondered out loud, does God ever make mistakes and allow people to go yet they weren’t done with their time on earth? For me, I am filled with an eerie, bubble-like, calm-before-the-storm ominous stillness. It feels like there is actually a physical obstacle between me and the acceptance that she is really gone. There is also the grim realization that the dam will burst sooner or later and then I will really be ripped apart.
The one thing that struck me today though was incidentally related to a rant I had a couple of days ago on Twitter. I was going on about how people really need to appreciate how short life is and start to live life rather than wasting their time envying other people’s lifestyle choices.
It’s really bizarre how it takes a loss through death to viciously remind you to appreciate what you have – before you lose it. It takes death to remind you to put aside petty differences and reconcile with those alienated from you. It takes the loss of a loved one to propel you to fulfill your life’s desires sooner rather than later. It takes a loss such as this to force you to put your broken life back together and live life again. It takes death.
What I also know is that one week, two weeks, a month or so from now, we will all have forgotten the lesson it has taught us today and will be back to our old ways. Till the next time it visits us.
I choose to be different this time. I choose to learn the lesson and carry it with me every day. I choose to live a life without regrets. I choose to tell my loved ones how much I love them every day. I choose to fulfill my dreams, take that holiday, make new friends, renew old acquaintances, put aside petty differences and all those other things on my (very lengthy) bucket list.
When my time comes I intend to go out smiling. And the people I leave behind will all say “She lived her life to the full!”
R.I.P. Jacinta. The Angels are lucky to have you.