The tranquility of the evening was disrupted by the ringing of the phone. A frantic voice on the other line belonged to my nephew: “Aunt Ann, I did not mean to call you; I meant to call my dad. My cousin just got hit by a car.”
The nurse in me immediately began asking questions: “Were you with him?” “Is he ok?” “Are you okay?”
His reply, “They are still working on him,” silences me, and I feel my chest tighten. So many questions are swirling around in my head, but I understand that he needs to make the phone call he intended to make. We hung up, and I began to quietly pray. An hour later I heard that Joseph did not survive. He was the victim of a drunk driver.
A 17 year old’s innocent walk to the store to get ice cream and a soda ending in tragedy. Killed by the very thing he so desperately wanted to become—a Marine. It made me reflect on the preciousness of every moment of our life:
I did not really know you Joseph, having only met you once when you were a small child, but your death affects me on a very deep level. I grieve the loss of your young life, of all the potential things you could have accomplished, all the experiences that you will no longer get to have: graduating high school, becoming a Marine, getting married, all of the things this life has to offer, great and small. Perhaps it is because you are so close in age to my youngest child that I feel the pain of your loss so strongly. Your death is a reminder of every parent’s worst nightmare come true. Your death challenges my belief that everything happens for a reason. How could this happen? How could there be a greater purpose than you having the opportunity to live a rich, full, long life? What is the point in all of this?
The internal search for an answer to reconcile your death takes me to a much deeper place within myself. A truth that I so often overlook and ignore as I go about my daily life emerges for me to acknowledge: Your time here is finite. One of these moments it will be your time to depart this life.
A story I heard Michael Singer, the author of the Untethered Soul, share with Oprah comes to mind. “The angel of death comes to take you saying it is time to go. You ask for more time, you were supposed to give me a warning, so I could decide what to do with my last week. The angel of death replies, what could you possibly do with one more week? I gave you fifty-two weeks just this past year alone, look at all the other weeks I have given you. I gave you your whole life. Why would you need one more week, what did you do with all of those? How will this one be different than the others? If asked that, how will you answer? I wasn’t paying attention, I didn’t think it mattered, I was too busy?”
Joseph, your death quickly cuts through all my defenses to show me what I am often too afraid to see. Your death reminds me to ask myself those tough questions. Are you living your life in a way that you will be pleased with when it ends? What have you been waiting for?
When the angel of death comes for you, will you be ready to go, satisfied that you truly lived?
Ann Darwicki RN is a Certified Professional Life Coach who completed her training at the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching. She is the owner and founder of Whole Being Coaching, specializing in coaching others to live the life of their dreams. Prior to becoming a life coach, Ann obtained as Associates Degree in Nursing from Delaware Technical and Community College. She has 25 years of nursing experience caring for women and children, with a life long affinity for holistic medicine. She is a Reiki practitioner and Nurse Luminary. She is also a freelance writer. She can be reached at 302.750.0574 or by email at email@example.com.