If this were your last day…

Did you enjoy it? Did you share it with friends? Did you hug your loved ones? Did you make it as good as it could be?

Last Thursday morning I woke up to a text which shook me to the core. My fun loving, lively, fit, active, ‘healthy’ cousin had become ill during the night, and shortly after passed away. She was fifty five, the mother to three and a soulmate to her husband.

Can you imagine living your life as normal today and bowing out tonight? Can you imagine not being here tomorrow? Or waking up tomorrow without your companion or friend?

I have always known life is not guaranteed but I think I’d become complacent. Before writing this I went into two of my daughters bedrooms. They are aged twenty four and fourteen. Both have experienced the reality of loss. Each of my daughters has a reminder within their room that life is precious.

In my eldest girls bedroom is a beautiful photograph of a group of young girls, gathered close together, their faces almost touching, smiling brightly. The photo is in a frame with the word, ‘LIVE’ carved on top. One of those happy girls was working alongside my daughter one afternoon, just before Christmas three years ago. Walking ahead of my daughter she went into a room to get a glass for a customer. My daughter followed moments later and found her on the floor. Despite immediate care and a lot of work by paramedics, there was nothing they could do. She was gone, at nineteen years of age.

Pinned to my daughters notice board she has written this note.
photo 2 (4)

Today having read that note, which I do often, I left and went to my youngest daughters room. She also has seen too much death, having watched her friend grieve over the short illness and death of her little brother, Ben, aged just six years.  Three weeks later we were back in the same church saying goodbye to young Daniel aged thirteen who had leukemia. It was a lot for an eleven year old to experience and for a time it rocked her world.

As I walked into her room I saw her reminder. It is a photo frame split into two sides. On one side is a collage of photos of family and friends all having fun, on the other side of the large frame she has put this note,

photo 1 (5)

Both my daughters are young, but both have learned very early that life is indeed precious, something we all need to be reminded of now and again. If you have read this far perhaps you can take this as your reminder for today.

Codladh Sámh Anne, cousin and pal of childhood days. You will be hugely missed by so many. Xxx


41 thoughts on “If this were your last day…

  1. So sorry for your loss, Tric. Here in the US, death isn’t something we talk about or we gloss over it or tuck it away – until the day it strikes home and becomes personal. Perhaps it’s that way everywhere, that we’re wired to think we will live forever. But there is some value to being aware that our time is limited and, therefore, precious. It can be an impetus for a wonderful life. ❤

    1. Over here death is a large part of life. Wakes are the norm, especially outside of cities and often last two to three days. During a wake the house is full of people and in many places at least one person remains up all night with the body. It’s a time of reminiscing, story telling and often laughter among the tears. However, despite death being ‘normal’ I don’t think we ever really expect it to visit us too soon, others perhaps, but not our family. I do agree when we realise life is precious it can indeed enhance the days we live.

  2. I’m so sorry, Tric, for the loss of your cousin. I’m the same age and it makes you think. Your daughters, though, make me think again. Their words are a glorious reminder to endure and live the life we’re given to the fullest. Hugs to them and to you.x

    1. Thank you. Yes I have always found their little reminders inspirational, but, finding them in the rooms of those so young they should imagine life is forever, always makes me think.
      I suppose it’s natural to think we will live to old age, too scary to think otherwise.

  3. I am very sorry to hear about your loss. Although pain and loss is such a tragic event for all those who go through it, so many of us don’t learn just how valuable life is until we’re much older. It’s sad, but also good that your children realize this now. I pray that that will help them to enjoy life to its fullest and to appreciate their time with loved ones. Through their losses, they have been given a head start on life by learning such an important lesson. Life is too short and we just never know what tomorrow will bring.

    1. Yes experiencing loss so young was certainly not something I wished for my children, but I do think, as you say, that “they have been given a head start on life”.
      Thank you.

  4. Sorry for your loss Tric. My father-in-law passed within 72 hours of saying he wasn’t feeling well. It is eye-opening when it happens so quickly to someone you love. My husband had a chance to talk to his dad’s at the hospital. Emily and I didn’t. I now know, for having lost loved ones to not hold grudge or go to bed upset. I say I love you a lot and give tons of hugs and kisses… Your children already know something really valuable. Life is precious!

    1. My cousin died within a few hours of feeling unwell. I’m sure it felt like minutes to her husband.
      Eye opening, yes that is exactly what it is. A lesson I hope I remember.

  5. I’m sorry for your sorrows Tric. I just lost a 32 year old cousin. Life and love and the thrill of it all is something we should all feel empowered to experience. Thank you for the reminder.

    1. Oh my goodness, 32. Life over just as it should be beginning. I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s been a few days now since we heard about my cousin and I am still reeling.

  6. Beautiful, poignant post. Little reminders like those quotes and signs are wonderful and help put things into perspective. I needed this. Thanks Tric

  7. I am so sorry for your loss and my heart goes out to her husband. He has a very difficult road ahead of him. Many prayers going your way and his.

    1. Thank you Deb. I know you know first hand how he must be feeling. I’m sure your thoughts and prayers would be very much appreciated.

  8. Ah, Tric, again! I’m so sorry…..Thank you for having the wisdom and kindness to recognize the beauty and fragility of life. Thank you for reminding us to take note.

    1. Thank you.
      Yes I find it interesting and even comforting that they have reached this conclusion themselves and both make a very good effort to live by it. The first time I saw their notes I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. No one wants their children to hurt but they certainly have learned a hard lesson very early in life.

  9. I was so sorry to hear about your cousin, Tric. As you say, life is indeed a precious thing. We should try to make the best use of the time we have, because we only ever get less of it. It’s really not something to squander.

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