Don’t Wait For Death to Show Love

Sometime in July I got a call from my cousin. We’ll call him B. B is always the life of the party. “Come Mek wi go Jamaica nuh?” He said in his ever vibrant tone. Oh how I love the Jamaican accent!

I asked him, what for? He said he had retired and wanted to get away for a couple of weeks. Would I go with him? I have been away from Jamaica for almost 40 years. I couldn’t readily say yes to a trip there. At least not on the spur of the moment.

I lovingly scoffed and told him I would think about it.

On the early morning of September 20, I got a call from B’s sister. He had passed away the previous night. I lost my breath in that moment. My last conversation with him replayed through my memory. I had to finish the conversation at another time. I couldn’t contain myself.

During the month of August I called my beloved Uncle Tony. I got his voicemail. I left a message telling him I was thinking about him. For about a week and a half after that we played phone tag. I never got to speak with him again.

On sept 29 my youngest sister announced to our family Whatsapp group that our beloved Uncle Tony had passed away. It broke my heart and for the second time in less than a month I had lost two of the most wonderful men in my life.

I’m left to wonder how to prevent these mishaps in life. The answer is to stay connected.

My life is not more important than the people in my life.

Earlier this year a colleague I used to take walks with passed away suddenly. We had cancelled all of the last meet ups we had planned. We couldn’t find the time to get together for 15 minutes despite the fact we worked in the same building.

Worst, a week before she died I saw her near the elevator but she was too far away to hear me, I thought. I didn’t want to shout. I figured I’d see her later. But later never came.

Regret is pointless after death. The person is already gone. You can’t talk or walk with them. A vacation with them is no longer possible

But there are still a lot of people living right now. People for us to connect and bond with. Folks to make amends with and family to forgive.

I hear a lot of complaints from people about what was done to them 10, 15, even 50 years ago. Why?

Last year, I wrote about my friend Lorraine who had betrayed my trust. The next time I heard her name was decades later and I was told she had died.

Or what about my former sister-in-law? For months I kept telling myself I had to call her. Had to write. Had to send photos of my sons to her. But I didn’t. She always slipped my mind.

Then one day I was devastated by the news that she had died of breast cancer.

All this might sound morbid. But the point I’m making is that we can’t waste time. Because tomorrow is not promised.

We must make haste to wake up out of our stupor and connect with others.

What can you do today to add value to someone else’s life? Who do you need to call. Write or visit?

Life is so fleeting. And death doesn’t wait to be invited. He comes when we least expect him. And even when we do expect him, his presence is still destructive.”

He rides in to collect. Because we owe him. And collect he will.

What purpose do we serve in this world if we live selfishly? Telling ourselves we are too busy? Or it’s not our problem?

We can make a difference before it’s too late. What good are we in this world if we cannot show we care? We may need to reach across the globe.

The next state.

Across the street.

In our pews.

Or sadly, in the bed next to us.

We can and must do better.

Death is nothing, but to live defeated and inglorious is to die daily.
Napoleon Bonaparte

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