It’s a brisk September morning. The chill in the air is minimal, but after a 90 degree day it feels freezing. A few yellow leaves drop to the ground as I walk with my daughter. The kids are back in school so there is much activity. Many dogs accompany their families on the walk, and we see many bike riders pass on the Washington and Old Dominion Trail outside of DC.
It’s mornings like these that I treasure. Walking my children to school, talking and laughing along the way, saying hello to passing friends and neighbors. Life is fleeting, my children are growing so fast, time is so precious.
I come home to a quiet house, the silence is both welcoming and unsettling. I pet our bunny Peanut and hamster Zaychu to remind myself that I am not all alone.
I think for a few moments about death because September 25th will be the one year anniversary of the day I almost died from multiple bilateral pulmonary embolisms. I am so grateful to be alive, but am still haunted by that day. I am still trying to recover both physically and mentally.
I look at the devastation that is going on in Houston, Florida, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, and once again I am reminded of my blessings. I sip my chamomile tea as thousands of people are struggling to find drink, food, shelter and clothing.
We never know when tragedy will strike. We never know when we will require assistance. We never know when our last day will come.
That is something that we all have in common. That is what makes us human.
I remember the tough year I just had, and see the tough times many people in the world are facing, and I feel saddened.
Then I look up from my keyboard and witness the humanity, courage and love that always follow each and every tragedy. Each and every personal loss.
It is like a tide that ebbs and flows throughout our lives. Sometimes we’re up. Sometimes we’re down. But, hopefully we will have loving friends, family and community members around us as we tread carefully through this life.
There are constant reminders of the fragility of life. There are constant reminders of the heroes and helpers who help us pick up the pieces.
They are there without a moment’s notice. They are not there to seek accolades. They are just there to help.
If we all try to be like them, then our world will be a much better place.
When we are dying we will embrace the love of those around us. When we are dying we will think about whether or not we made a difference in other people’s lives. When we are dying we will think could we have done more? Could we have loved more?
The answer is always yes.
We can always do more to make ourselves and others happy. We can always do more to make others smile. We can always do more to help our neighbors who are without food, shelter or healthcare. We can always do more by standing up for those who cannot stand up for themselves.
One year ago I almost died.
This anniversary means so much to me. I will raise a glass to old friends and new. I will hug my family and celebrate that I’m still here. I will try my best to appreciate each new day that I’m given. I will try my best to help others however and whenever I can.
I will think about what will happen when I die a little more often now after surviving my blood clots.
When I die, I know it will be with a clear conscience and a full heart. But that time is not now.
Now, it’s time to live.