Yesterday morning my elderly aunt was taken to the hospital by ambulance because she was having difficulty breathing.
My daughter works in a local ER and patients young and old come through the doors–and some never leave alive.
I certainly didn’t think that when I texted Dominic the day before he was killed, our chatty conversation would be our last.
You just don’t know…
No Redshirts Here
If you are a Star Trek fan, you get the reference. In most episodes involving fear of mortal danger, the landing team included several main characters and one or two “redshirts”. Those were the expendable crewmen (or women)–the ones you knew would take the fatal hit and fade into the story background. There might be a moment when Captain Kirk or Spock or Dr. McCoy were threatened, but in your heart you just knew that they would be safe because, after all, there’s next week’s episode.
In some ways, this mentality crept into my life. The people I love are too important, too central to my life to die. Sure, eventually, we all leave this earth. But not today, not without warning.
And not in the middle of the story.
I resisted the truth that “life is but a vapor”. I acknowledged it in my head but ignored it in my heart.
I’m here to tell you–life is a vapor…it can be gone as quickly as the morning mist and there is no getting it back.
I console myself that Dominic knew I loved him. Because I told him so–in person, on the phone and in messages. I couldn’t save him from death, but am spared at least that one regret.
If you knew that today would be the last day you would be with someone, what would you do differently? What would you say? What would you choose not to say?
We never know. Even anticipated deaths are often unexpected. Age and illness seem like creeping things until the moment they strike the final blow.
There are no red shirts in real life. No telltale symbol to clue us in to who will be here tomorrow and who will enter eternity today. Babies aren’t born with expiration dates.
Choose to honor the ones that are important to you.
Leave in love. Part in peace.