What I Know About Death

Three weeks ago, God wrapped his hands around my tiny world and shook the hell out of it. On my way home from vacation, a friend called to say that our mutual friend, Brian, had died that morning. His fifty-one year old heart had stopped beating while the early morning hours turned night into day.

Brian was a happy, sweet guy. He loved the Florida Gators and his Golden Retriever, Bourbon. (And in case you didn’t catch on from his dog’s name, he loved Maker’s Mark too.) His family was his treasure. He treated friends like family. He was in every sense of the word, a gentleman.

In early May, Nilla, my thirteen year old Golden Retriever died. A week later, I received a Mother’s Day card “from Nilla” thanking me for being a great mom. From the handwriting and the over the top gesture, I knew the sender had to be Brian.

My mind has been working overtime trying to make sense of why God would take Brian, someone whose heart was so full and whose intentions were so pure. Maybe God needed Brian up there more than he needed him down here. Maybe Brian’s work here was done.

My mind is tired. I can’t make seem to make sense of Brian’s death no matter how hard I try. But after all that thinking, here’s what I know about death.

Death is a thief. Don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise. It sneaks in when you’re not looking and takes what you value most – the cherished, shiny things that make your life easier and fuller.

No matter how much I hope or ask or want, Brian will not walk into our local watering hole and make me laugh.

It’s not our place to question the Universe. Peace comes from trusting it. From flowing with it.

Odds are you won’t live to be eighty years old. Do everything you want to do right now. And I mean right now.

Don’t be stingy with your feelings. Share them with everyone you love. Share them with everyone you sort of love.

Take a lesson from my friend, Brian, and do warm and fuzzy things for people. Make them smile. Make them believe the world is good. Because it is.

I’m finished asking God why Brian isn’t here anymore. Instead, I’ll tell him how lucky he is to have Brian up there with Him. And, I’ll ask Him if he could tell Brian that every time I see a tall, handsome, smiling guy walk into our local watering hole, I’ll look twice wishing it were him.

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