Guest contributor: April Koontz MSW, COO, Silver Compassion
Life changes drastically when someone you love dies. It just does. Try as you might, you can never prepare for the tsunami of tears triggered by the words, “he’s gone or she’s gone”. You just can’t. No one can. It’s part of being human. It’s part of loving. It’s part of being alive.
It’s been five years since my 34-year-old brother died of an accidental overdose. Two years since my 53-year-old cousin committed suicide. Seven months since my 79-year-old uncle dropped dead of a heart attack. And, each time, regardless of the person and regardless of the cause, the tsunami hit. Each time, the world stopped and nothing else mattered. Not my job. Not my car. Not the dollar amount in my bank account. Not even where my next meal would come from. Nothing.
There’s no out running the ‘death tsunami’. It’s going to hit and it’s going to hit hard. But, here’s the good news. You survive it. And over time the waters recede, the sun creeps back in and eventually new life begins. Three sudden deaths over a five-year span can teach a girl a lot. Here’s what I’ve learned:
- Life is short and there’s no guarantee of tomorrow. Make sure you’re not trading your happiness in today for the happiness you think you’ll have in the future.
- Embrace the reality that one-day you will die. When you live within this reality, you love deeper, you smile more and your tears are more about gratitude than sorrow.
- Make your final wishes known and get your affairs in order – regardless of your age. When you leave, the tsunami will hit those you love. Their sun will shine much sooner if they know you were ready to go.
Silver Compassion‘s mission is to help people thrive in the second half of their life. They offer classes, expert consultations, and community to help create a personalized Life Plan and navigate the complex world of aging.