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  • Writer's pictureDr. Jill

Death is a funny thing

I don't mean funny, HAHA, funny, I mean "weird, odd, uncomfortable" or any other words we use to describe it. Let's face it, nobody likes to talk about death, really, right? The thing is, death is inevitable. It will happen whether we like it or not because death is a part of life.

I recently learned of the death of a friend. We have been friends for over 20 years. While we didn't talk regularly, the times we did talk were always predictable...holidays and birthdays. We would talk between those times to catch up or share something exciting that happened in our lives. The conversation would always go something like this, "I'm sorry I haven't been such a good friend. We need to catch up. Let's plan a date soon." Both of us would say those things and each of us would always say "You're not a sucky friend" and "Yes, please." As time went on, we never did make that date to see each other. I texted my friend just the other day saying "Have we seriously not spoken since January?" expecting a quick reply, but I did not receive one. So, I texted again several days later, and again, no reply. Something told me to google my friend and lo and behold, there was the obituary -- the first item from the search. To say I was saddened and heartbroken is an understatement. My friend passed away two months ago. I found out the cause of the death but it has brought me no comfort as it probably could have been avoided. We had no mutual friends and I remember telling my friend months (maybe years ago) that if something ever happened to me, I left instructions for someone to call and share the news. I only wish my friend had done the same thing.

The great thing about my friend is that they lived their life to the fullest each and every day. My friend was blessed with a child late in life and I can remember them saying, "I can't even believe this. I'm too old for this. Is this really happening?" We talked about the memories that were about to be made and the joy they would experience together. Every single conversation since the birth was filled with the experiences they had, the laughs they had together, and what new adventure they were going on. I was so excited and happy for my friend. They had found the love of their life and got to experience what joy parenting is. My friend and their family shared a deep love. They lived life to its fullest and enjoyed each and every day -- even the sucky ones. You see, death was never a word in my friend's vocabulary. Yes, they knew death would come one day but they never "looked" for it, never focused on it, never planned for it. Each day was a gift to be enjoyed.

A year ago I experienced the unexpected death of another friend. This friend lived life to the fullest and I admired them for that.

I tell you about my friends because I want you to see that life is a gift and your life, no matter what your aches and pains, should be lived to the fullest. Enjoy yourself. Get the new tattoo, try the new hairstyle, go on the longed-for vacation. Don't wait until "someday."

You're probably saying, "I have so many health problems that today may be my last day" or "I don't know how long I have" or "Next time it could be fatal." Yep, all of those things may be true but do you really want your last day to be wasted wallowing in self-pity? I have held the hands of hundreds of people while they have taken their last breath. I can tell you that not one of them ever said that they were glad they sat around thinking about their death. They talked about planning for it (in the legal sense which is smart) and knew it was coming but they didn't let that stop them from enjoying the sunrise/sunset, smelling the flowers, telling someone how they felt, and writing that email. They didn't focus on death, but on the life they still had in front of them.

So, dear reader, how will you live your life? Will you live in the "suffering" of whatever ails you and complain about how you can't do this or can't do that? Will you continue to look at all of the things this one or that one has not done for you or to you? Will you continue to count the wrongs and forget about the rights? Or will you start living your life and making the most out of every day despite all the nonsense? Honestly, I've chosen the latter. I have no time or energy for "joy suckers." You know -- those people who just suck the joy right out of you and make you feel exhausted.

So, dear reader, will you choose joy today?

Until next time,

Dr. J

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