This morning I woke up to unexpected news. Not the kind of news that makes you smile or gets you excited. The exact opposite. I woke up to news that knocks you on your butt, makes you cry and puts the world into perspective. This morning I woke up to loss, with the news that a dear friend passed in the night.
I was fortunate enough to have spent time with my friend yesterday, but it easily could have been different. With my life being so busy lately, I have put off spending time visiting my friend. This wasn’t because I didn’t love him or want to see him, simply because I kept finding my life so full and the time wasn’t there. Yesterday I was lucky. I made time to spend with him. I am so happy that was the case because how often for people it simply is not. You just never know! This was unexpected. Yes he had been ill and was in the hospital, but not so ill that we had any idea that today he would no longer be with us.
As I sat this morning at my picnic table trying to write, the tears flowing freely making my page harder and harder to see, I realized the perspective this was giving me. All of the drama and stresses that have been surrounding me lately melted away. They suddenly seemed so small and unimportant. The woman who has decided that suddenly she doesn’t like me and won’t wave or speak to me became a blip on my radar and then not even that. The troubles that have previously been causing me so much concern suddenly stopped feeling so important and dire. It all melted into nothingness as I sat and cried for the loss of this friend.
There’s a book called “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and It’s All Small Stuff” which I’ve never read, but I’ve always liked the title. Suddenly, that became very clear to me. It’s ALL small STUFF. What really matters are the people who treat you well, who make an effort, who want to be in your life, who are in your heart. What really matters is the time you have and what YOU choose to do with it.
I’ve always known that how I treat people matters and what I do in and with my life is important. I’ve tried to walk my path and live my life in such a way that the impact I have is positive, though nobody is perfect.
Each time I’ve suffered loss in my life, and there have been many, I’ve gone through something significant. Every loss has left a hole, but that hole fills with the lessons left behind. Sometimes it takes longer to see and sometimes, like today, the message is quick and clear. I am reminded how short life is. I am reminded how sometimes the unexpected just happens and when it happens how each of us reflects on what we did before the tragedy. Were we a good friend? Did we do the right things? Did we make time?
Today I will grieve. Even though this friend was a relatively new friend and we hadn’t had a lot of time together, we had grown very close. The friendship started out of a hole left in his life, but he had found a place to fill within mine and he will be missed.
My friend never missed an opportunity to express his love for me. He told me every time we parted ways or hung up the phone. He hugged me close when I would be on my way. He smiled when he saw me come into a room. He thanked me for everything I did and expressed how much it meant to him.
Tomorrow I will take the lessons of today and the love he left with me forward into my life. I will remember to say I’m sorry when it’s warranted. I will remember to say I love you to those whom I care for deeply. I will remember to be grateful. I will remember to let go of the dramas of others and let them walk their own paths as I walk my own path. These are things I’ve always known, but had lost some sight of.
So today I feel this loss and I will feel it for some time to come, but the lessons of love, patience, and gratitude; the lessons of making time, spending time, and recognizing what really matters; these are all the things my friend leaves behind for me. They are his parting gift to me and I will do my best to honor them.
So say I love you when you part. Say thank you when a kindness is done. Thank your friends for just being friends. Hug those who mean something to you and let them know you appreciate them. Say I’m sorry when you’ve done a wrong. Walk away if someone is negative and leave them to their own drama. Do kindness every day. And remember that tomorrow is never guaranteed.