This is not a particularly light-hearted topic but it has been on my mind a lot. Over the past two weeks, my husband and I have heard of altogether of five cancer-related deaths, all of people who were relatively young. Some I knew well, others I knew more by association.
The one that hit closest to home was that of my dear friend Jenny. She passed away last week at the age of 27, a young mother of three who suffered a brain hemorrage and cardiac arrest in response to an untreated brain tumor. Jenny was my room mate my second year at Michlala in Israel. I will remember her as someone with a constant smile on her face and a nice word for everyone. She was always happy to see you and would give you the shirt of her back if you needed it.
This post is not really about why bad things happen to good people. It is more about what we, the ones who are left behind and deeply affected by these losses, can learn from this. I have been discussing this with my husband a lot, how all the petty annoyances and grievances of life, become less important in the face of these tragedies. It helps you focus on what is really important and what is not.
I wonder, though, how long that lasts. A day, a few days, a week or two tops? And then it is back to regular life, grumbling about spilled grape juice or red markers on the couch cushions or toddlers who love to empty bookshelves.
I realized it has to be deeper than that. It made me reconsider my life goals. We always think we have endless time, but what would you do, if you realized your time was limited? Would you want to change things? I have thought about this a lot and have come to the conclusion that I would want to be doing what I am doing now, only better. I would want to be a better, more patient and loving mother and wife. I would want to continue working on myself to become a happier version of myself.
I considered my long term plans of maybe going back to school at some point when the kids are older or having a more consistent, 9-5 job. Would I want to do that now rather than putting it off to an unknown future? Surprisingly, the answer was "no". I truly believe that it is best for my kids to have me home and available to them as much as possible. That is where I am meant to be now, no matter what the future hold. At the end of 120 yrs iyh, noone will say- "she was the best graduate student".
This may strike you all as extremely morbid. And maybe it is. But I think that it is also inspiring and energizing. Coming face to face with your own mortality and making the decision to therefor live your best life right now (I think I stole that line from Oprah).
We need to find meaning in all our life experiences, rather than just getting through them and moving on unchanged. May the memory of Jenny and all the other neshamos that were lost be for a blessing.