Yesterday I heard the tragic news that my dear friend Nickie died.
He was rushed to the hospital after complaints of pain and immobility in his left leg. Upon arrival, doctors discovered a tear in his aorta. Before they could complete emergency surgery, he took his last breath and we lost him.
Here’s a photo of him (far right) jumping for joy at our wedding reception:
And here we are facilitating a spiritual retreat together:
This is nuts. Look at us. How could we have known back then, when this photo was taken, that his life would only extend another few years? Would we even have wanted to know? And would that knowledge have hurt or helped us?
With death comes so many questions.
And here’s the other thing. When someone in your age bracket dies, it’s a reminder that death is not only for those who are old and sickly– death is the outcome of every life.
Death will be the outcome of mine.
Someone posted this on Nickie’s Facebook page on the morning the news broke out:
Are you living and loving as well as you should be? If you died tomorrow, would you be at peace with who you were the day before? What will your legacy be?
You know, everyone wonders what happens when we die. But I think the real question is: What must happen in our own lives after someone we love dies?
Maybe there is an opportunity in death. Maybe there is a blessing in accepting our finiteness. Maybe in knowing we will one day say good bye to everything and everyone we love, we are forced to remove our hands from our eyes and live a more conscientious, beautiful, and brave life while we still can.
Now, this doesn’t bring Nickie back. But I’ll settle for being a better person because I loved (and lost) him.
Your Turn: Has the death of a loved one ever inspired positive change in your life?
* * * *
Death, according to Thich Nhat Hanh:
“It’s like a cloud in the sky. When the cloud is no longer in the sky, it doesn’t mean the cloud has died. The cloud is continued in other forms, like rain, snow, or ice. So you can recognize your cloud in her new forms.
If you are very fond of a beautiful cloud and your cloud is no longer there, you should not be sad. Your beloved cloud may have become the rain calling on you, ‘Darling, Darling. Don’t you see me in my new form?’ And then you will not be struck with grief and despair. Your beloved one continues always.”
To Nickie: I will look for you in the clouds, the rain, the snow, and in the ice.
Be at Peace, my sweet friend.