Death: The Only Truth We Know for Sure

July 30, 2015 by Charlie Hedges − 3 Comments

Eulogy for a Friend

This is my fourth try writing a blog post this week. The other three were deleted from my computer because they sucked. My brain is not in gear.

A friend of mine died this week. He was only 22 years old. He was smart, talented, good looking and popular. So WTF?

My wife and I are in pain. I can’t even begin to imagine the pain of my friends, (the parents and sisters). Life is not supposed to be this way. A parent should not outlive their child.

When death hits friends, it also hits home. It is no longer some unspeakable reality we stash away in the back of our minds. It becomes the most present and hard-hitting event known to mankind. It is real and visceral and painful and absolutely truthful.

What it brings home (or should bring home) is that this is your fate as well. Just 2 or 3 years ago I became more aware that I am going to die and it could be sooner than later. If it can happen to an incredible kid, then it certainly can happen to an old man like me.

So in times like this what do you do? You mourn and then you mourn even longer. At some point, if you’re lucky, you begin to reflect… on the goodness of the person and the potential of the goodness in you. Finally, you make the most difficult decision of all. You decide to really live. You honor that person for reminding yourself that the only thing that matters is living out who you were created to be in the service of society and the honor of the Holy.

What Really Matters Anyway?

This shocking reminder of the brevity of life forces you to pause… and reflect. What matters in life anyway?

Only two things come to mind. But… if you LIVE and embrace these two ideas you will leave a legacy of an envious life:

  • Don’t Hold Grudges. Not only am I reminded to love those close to me and those I barely know, I am driven to dismiss any stupid grudges I hold against another person. How petty my differences with people actually are. Arguments or anger or hurt are relegated to selfish personal desires and self-righteousness. The people themselves, broken and fragile as they are, are the only thing that matters. It is my human duty to love them, in spite of my ill feelings toward them.

I just can’t believe how petty I really can be. There may be no tomorrow. It’s embarrassing how I allow my hurt feelings to get in the way of loving a person I may never see again. I don’t want to be sorry I didn’t show them the love they deserved; and they deserved it just because they were a part of my life.

  • DO My “WANT-TO-DO’S. I intend to wipe away any procrastinations and excuses. There is no tomorrow. There is only today so I MUST make the most of it. My young friend has forced me to reconsider what I do each moment, each day, and how I prepare for tomorrow and the tomorrow after that.

What do you “Want-to-Do” during your time here? It’s a huge question that requires reflection and thoughtfulness. It might help to think about – what you want to do, what you want to be, what you want to have, and what you want to be known for. Answer these questions and you will start focusing your life in the right direction.

Let grief have its day

but don’t forget to live today like it really matters.

Photo courtesy of Stock photo © Yuri_Arcurs

3 thoughts on “Death: The Only Truth We Know for Sure”

  1. Charlie – My Dear Friend

    I’ve been thinking a lot about dying this week. That doesn’t sound right.

    This week I’ve been thinking a lot about dying. Hmmm, that still isn’t right. Oh well. I think a lot about death. Not my own but the passing of other people. In the work I do one can’t help but think about it. This week I did the service for a 42 year old man who lost his battle with colon cancer leaving behind a wife and two kids ages 8 & 9. That sucked not only for me but more for the 400+ people who showed up at his Celebration of Life. We didn’t celebrate that he was gone but we Celebrated that we had the opportunity to not only know him but to learn from him.

    Your statement “You decide to really live. You honor that person for reminding yourself that the only thing that matters is living out who you were created to be in the service of society and the honor of the Holy.” is truly the most important thing we can do at a time when none of it makes sense.

    I’m truly sorry to hear of your young friends passing. Sometimes I hear people say “I’m sorry for your pain, sorry for your loss.” Although I know they mean well I can’t say those words. We have deep pain when someone passes because we shared deep love with them. The greatest loss would have been never knowing them & sharing some of this incredibly wonderful, joyful, happy, gut wrenching, “I can’t take another step”, sorrowful journey of life.

    As I write this I get a flurry of text messages that my nieces boyfriend is in the hospital. His body has become septic and another life hangs in the balance.

    I love you my friend. I don’t want either of us to think some day “I wanted to have lunch with him but now it’s too late.” I’ll send you a text to find a time. Thanks for touching my life today.


  2. Don’t mean to nitpick, but it seems to me the primary reason we might contemplate or feel that “death is the only truth we know for sure” is because “love” is truly the first and only truth we know for sure. Without it, the sting of death’s reality is but a footnote. Just saying…or is this the proverbial chicken-egg polemic? Love you Charlie.

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