That’s such a scary word, such a terrifying thing to think about.
Every day we wake up, and with every breathe we take we are one step closer to never again filling our lungs with air. While scary, it’s such a crazy thought that one day someone can be a living, breathing human walking this earth and the next they can just be a cold, lifeless body six foot under the ground. Working in a hospital I encounter death more often than I would like. Too often I come in contact with people who have or currently are walking the thin line of being alive and ceasing to exist. In fact, you probably encounter people like this on a daily basis and you’d never know it. Death does not always come in the form of a sick patient laying in a hospital bed. Sometimes it looms over a persons life every day as they wake up wishing they hadn’t.
scary. Death is inevitable and unavoidable.
And you’re probably wondering why I’m speaking about such a morbid topic, but it’s often in the moments where death crosses my mind that I remind myself of how precious life is and how each day could literally be my last. I could go to sleep and my heart could just stop for no reason other than it was tired of beating. I could get in my car and and be smashed into a guardrail or slammed into another car. I could be walking to class and be shot from across the quad. I could be sick and not even know it and just like that not ever breathe again. Anything could happen to me at any given moment and I will never expect it. The same goes for each one of you reading this, and each person that you’re close to.
I often think about the things I hear about on the news. Innocent people being killed. Innocent people killing each other. Diseases claiming lives. Sadness causing death. Death is everywhere, and it blows my mind…and it terrifies me.
What happens to me when I die? Where do I go? Heaven? Hell? Nowhere?
I think one of the scariest parts about death and dying is the huge question of “what happens next?”
The unknown is always terrifying, but that’s not why I’m talking about death and ceasing to ever exist as a part of this chaotic world ever again.
From the beginning we are given a dwindling number of days…so what are we going to do with them?
It seems as though everyone’s life goal comes down to wanting to be remembered, to do something so great that when they no longer exist, there memory will continue. But here’s my question to you…do you want to be remembered for something good or something bad? Because sometimes I feel like people so badly want to be remembered that they don’t care what they are remembered for.
Life is not eternal, it does not go on forever, and neither do we…so we want to be remembered.
A cure for an incurable disease.
They’re all obvious, big picture ideas. But what about the little ones? Your time makes a difference. Your love makes a difference. Your presence makes a difference. Your kind words and gentle heart make a difference. And I don’t just mean to family and to friends, there are strangers that will remember you until their forever ends for simply giving them your time, your love, and your kindness. One day I am going to stop breathing, and I will be put in a box six-foot under the earth I now walk on. In that time I want to make a big difference in all the tiny little ways I can. So often people tell themselves that they’ll never be able to make a difference because they’re only one person, but you can and chances are…you already do. It’s not always about making a big picture difference, sometimes it’s about making small picture differences. And it’s not always about being remembered forever…each person you meet will have their own “forever,” that will yes eventually come to an end, but if they remember you until their end…isn’t that enough? The people that I truly remember are not those that make hit songs or even cure diseases. I remember the people that share themselves with me in ways that irreplaceable to them.
Death is scary, and your days are numbered, and I know you want to be remembered. But do not be so caught up in fear of the number of days ahead of you slowly shrinking, and do not be so caught up in the idea of being remembered that you forget that it is possible to be remembered in a way so negative that people wish they could forget you.
I dare you to take every single day that you are so gratefully given and spend it making all the little differences you possibly can. Give your time, give your heart, give your kindness, and most importantly give yourself. You will be remembered for being selfless and being kind. You will be remembered for pouring out love into every person you come in contact with. You will be remembered for giving things that you cannot get back. You will be remembered for showing strength and courage to rise about the chaos and negativity in this world and pouring into it all the love that you can. You can make a difference, even when you think you can’t. You can be remembered for something worth remembering. Make it count for something so that when you are gone, people don’t cringe at the thought of all you’ve left behind. You are given a start date and eventually will be given an end date, and when you no longer live; there will be a tiny dash in between those dates that will symbolize the life that you have lived.
Do something with your dash.