A very good friend of my younger sister passed away this morning. She was 24, a preschool teacher, full of life. Pneumonia, complications, death. So sudden and unexpected and unthinkable. I did not know her well, but news of her passing put me into a deeply pensive mood today.
I've been lucky in that I've not lost anyone close to me, other than a dear Grandmother when I was in junior high. Today, I've shed several tears just imagining how those close to this girl must feel today - her friends, colleagues, and especially her family. Such anguish. I can't imagine how I would feel if I lost a close friend or family member. Devastating. I know it has been a very hard day for my sister, and I grieve for her and the pain this loss brings with it.
A loss like this - sudden, unexpected, someone so young - really reminds me how very fragile life is and how much is uncertain about our days. Especially early on, I spent much time worrying about the uncertainty factor in relation to MS. It is still certainly something I worry about, simmering away on one of the back burners in my mind. But just because we have a diagnosis that absolutely means uncertainty, how is that any different from the human condition itself?? None of us can ever know what tomorrow holds, or even from hour to hour, minute to minute. My sister's friend worked on Friday, had to go to the ER on Saturday, was rushed by ambulance to another hospital on Sunday and died Monday morning. Who could have anticipated such a tragedy?
From this deep well of sadness, though, comes the beautiful reminder to appreciate the present, to live every moment like your last, to leave every interaction with every person as though it's the last time you will see them, and to be grateful for all that you have, especially for all the people you love. Make sure they know how you feel.
May you stop dreading uncertainty, and truly accept that all is uncertain and that's okay. May you shift the energy of dread and worry to searching for and reveling in the beauty that is all around us - the people, nature, the arts, physical stuff, life. Hold that beauty like the fragile gift that it is and treat it with the greatest of care.