My day, this 12-hour span of time, has been bracketed by death; both morning and afternoon brought news of a passing. This morning, I learned that one of my favorite statesmen, General Colin Powell, had died. This afternoon I learned that a young friend suddenly passed away. I have been feeling off-center all day as a result of these two events.
Colin Powell was 84 years old; he was often described as the most popular American general since World War II. General Powell was the first Black U. S. Secretary of State and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
My young friend was an immigrant. She was 22 years old and had lived in the United States since she was two years old. She was funny, out-spoken, and fearless.
These two people were so different.
- One was male and the other female,
- One was young and just starting to live, while the other had lived a full life,
- One was a well-known and respected public servant and the other was struggling to earn enough money to pay for school,
- One was African American and the other was Asian, and
- One was well-known; flags will fly at half-staff for General Powell, while very few people beyond immediate family know of the passing of my young friend.
In spite of their differences, there were similarities. Both of them had family and friends who loved them. They both had more life to live and a desire to do so. They both learned, loved, laughed.
All of us have been forced to deal with loss during our lives. Yet, no matter how many times we are faced with a loss, it is never, ever easy. So, what can we take away from this? How can we grow through pain?
For me, these two losses have reminded me that in life I don’t get a dress rehearsal, and I am not guaranteed even one more moment. Death forces me to stop in my tracks. It makes me realize that in life, self-care is critical; it is the gift I can give myself everyday. Self-care is a way that I can make each day count by giving myself health, well-being, energy, and self-acceptance.
Death reminds us that, for all living beings, life is a series of fleeting moments. It is our responsibility to make each of those moments matter…so, for today and everyday, I wish you joy-filled moments and memories.