Today is another of those “should have been” celebrations. Your 66th birthday! Six birthdays. Without you. Six birthdays trying to figure out how to keep celebrating when sometimes celebrating is the last thing I want to do. This is one of those times. It’s been a rough week. The world was reminded of the fragility of life. It touched so close to home. A superstar, his child and seven others with families and loves lost their lives. In a moment. A flash. And the world mourned. What began as an ordinary day ended in tragedy. And no one gets it. They shake their heads. Question. Why? How could this happen? Unfortunately. It does. And as truly awful as it is it happened to these nine people. A horrific tragedy that leaves surviving members struggling to put the pieces of their lives back together. Lives that will NEVER be the same again. My heart breaks. It physically hurts. No words to explain. Because I have felt that agonizing pain. One minute life is normal. And the next. It’s gone. Everything’s changed. You don’t know where to turn. Where to begin. What to say. I’ve broken down so many times this week. For my pain? Or theirs? I don’t even know. Probably some of both. But the message is always the same. DON’T WASTE THE MOMENTS. We’ve heard it over and over again. We think about it. And then we don’t. We become complacent. We’ll do it tomorrow. And then we don’t. BE IN THE MOMENT. BE PRESENT. It makes a difference to those who love you and those you love. Emails, texts, FB, IG. Not going anywhere. It can wait. Loved ones. They need you. NOW.
The world has been grieving. Everywhere you turn people are talking. Don’t wait for tomorrow. Make the call. Love today. Live in the moment. Shaquille O’Neal, with tears streaming down his face, cried, “I wish I could say one last thing to the people that we lost, because once you’re gone, you’re gone forever. It really changes me, I just really now have to take time and just call and say I love you … because you never know.” But why does it take the death of a superstar to remind us? To live with compassion. Kindness. Empathy. Why does death shoot us with some powerful super drug of “let’s get real?” It’s scary. Sad. Devastating. And final. Reminds us of our eventual mortality We stop. Cry. Hug. Love. Call our loved ones. But. What happens next week? Next month? We live our lives. Get busy. Time passes. Complacency sets in. Again. Until another “event.” But not for those whose lives have personally been shattered. Their lives will NEVER be the same again. Not only for the superstar. The NINE families. But ALL the others. A neighbor. A friend. A stranger. All those who feel this insufferable pain of loss. It’s a club no one wants to join.
Today on your birthday I still ask myself why? Why would they take a “good one?” Just as the world is wondering about the “nine.” But. Here’s what I’ve learned. There are no reasons. I could search forever. I could beat myself down. And never know why. Harold Kushner wrote, “I don’t know why one person gets sick, and another does not, but I can only assume that some natural laws which we don’t understand are at work. I cannot believe that God ‘sends’ illness to a specific person for a specific reason. I don’t believe in a God who has a weekly quota of malignant tumors to distribute, and consults His computer to find out who deserves one most or who could handle it best. ‘What did I do to deserve this?’ is an understandable outcry from a sick and suffering person, but it is really the wrong question. Being sick or being healthy is not a matter of what God decides that we deserve. The better question is ‘If this has happened to me, what do I do now, and who is there to help me do it?’” The answer is you. And only you. It’s a treacherous climb. Steep. Rocky. Jagged. Struggling to hold on. And. One day. You breathe. You see the other side. It’s foggy. But. It will clear. Little by little every day. Until suddenly. The sun is shining. Once again.
Six birthdays without you. Today is the day to celebrate YOU. This day will always belong to you. We celebrate your Love. Kindness. Generosity. Compassion. Smile. All that was YOU. Ellen DeGeneres said, “Life is short and it’s fragile. And we don’t know how many birthdays we have. We don’t have to have a birthday to celebrate. Just celebrate life. And if you haven’t told someone you love them. Do it. Now. Do it.” I love you. You will forever be in my heart. The only purpose in loss is to live a life of purpose. Find our blessings. And always. Always. Be grateful. For life. Today. Tomorrow. Forever.
P.S. Make the call. Tell someone you love them. Don’t wait. Tomorrow may not be another day. Celebrate TODAY!