I was going to call this blog “What if I died tomorrow” but didn’t want people to start thinking, “What’s up with Dave?” So I use the title of a song by Nickelback. Regardless, it is a very taboo topic.
Each year that goes by, I hear about people in the prime of their life, people too young to go so soon, friends and family. I hear of little children coming down with an illness, disease and passing. It sucks! Death is inevitable. I hate to sound like I lack empathy but from the time you are born, you are one day closer to death. (Buddhism: Life is Suffering)
Equally, it is one of the toughest things to talk about. You hear about a sudden passing and you are at a loss for words. You attend a funeral and are at a loss for words. As a parent of a young child who will never get to have a first date, go to a prom, go off to college, get married and have children of their own… there are no words. Someone has just a mere few months to live… we are at a loss for words. A person in the prime of their life… we are at a loss for words. Sometimes you don’t need words, you need compassion and understanding. Spend time with the person who’s life may soon be cut short. Spend time with their family. Make them happy and comfortable.
Reflect upon your own life. Have you accomplished your goals? Have you provided for those you leave behind? My wife and I often put vacations on the back burner, we may forgo nice things so that we can provide for our son. Sometimes doing without is the best way to ensure your family has some security in the future, just in case you can’t be there to provide for them.
I told my wife a few months ago, I was totally happy with my life. I was happy with what I accomplished and there was nothing more I wanted. I was always “High” on life. I was an accomplished “Stickball/Baseball/Softball/Wiffleball/Basketball/Football” player 🙂 I came within a strike of bowling a 300, I met a wonderful woman, I have raised an accomplished son, bought a house, I ran a half marathon, hiked some beautiful places and I have enjoyed life. In the event of my untimely death, my family will be taken care of.
When it comes to Buddhism, knowing life is suffering, accepting the suffering, accepting that death is part of life, it is a reminder that regardless of the pains you will have in life, you want to take a positive view on everything. You can’t change the inevitability of death but you do have the choice of being positive or negative about all aspects of your life. You have the choice of being positive or negative in your last days (if you know your time is limited) And even if your death was sudden and unexpected, wouldn’t you want your legacy to be in a positive light?
Be compassionate to others. Be mindful of their family as you would want others to be mindful of your family.