My grandfather passed away in his sleep last Thursday at the age of seventy.
I clearly remember the very last time I saw him. It was three weeks prior to his passing. He shook my hand, as he always did, and asked how I was doing. I only saw him for a brief moment but now that moment is burned into my memory.
The days following his passing were noticeably, and understandably, tough on my mom, grandma, and my aunts and uncles. It was the first time I had seen many of my relatives cry. I was so impressed by my grandmothers strength. At one point, when she started crying into my shoulder, she held back and said "look at me, crying like a little child".
In life, choose happiness. Reserve your sadness for the afterlife.
A strange feeling arises every now and then when I realize he's gone. For that brief moment, it doesn't feel real. Everything, from the wake to the funeral, felt surreal. I couldn't help but contemplate how one day, myself and all the people present will meet the same fate. Life felt animated, a picturesque moment in a film without a known duration. Thirty years? Ten years? Five months? Three weeks? Six days? One hour?
My other grandfather, on my dad's side, died when I was about nine years old. I remember going to his wake and being surrounded by people in black suits towering over me, mourning for a reason I didn't understand and obviously feeling something I didn't feel. I really didn't know him that well and my only other memory of him is of when we visited him in the hospital.
You never know what moment may be the very last you'll see someone, so it's important to treat every moment as if it were your, or their, last. Living that way makes you appreciate every moment of life, regardless of the situation. When we take life for granted we forget who we really are and how much those we love mean to us.
Death gives us the ultimate reason to celebrate life.
A little over a week ago I wrote about how every single one of us will die one day and why that means we should all choose happiness and growth in life.
Almost every day I remind myself of this fact and each time I do I seem to appreciate life a little bit more. It reminds me that I have no reason to be unhappy; no reason to be angry; no reason to be frustrated; no reason to be unmotivated. It pushes me to take action and do the things I've always wanted to do. It reminds me to appreciate family, friends, and most of all, myself. It reminds me that, as my Uncle Dan always says, "your health is your wealth" and that all the money and fame in the world is pointless if I don't have my health.
"Your health is your wealth."
Take care of your health.