"Remember tonight...for it is the beginning of always."- Dante
"I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, 'If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.'"- Kurt Vonnegut
It's almost a standalone, were it not for the thoughts I need to get out of my head tonight.
Tonight my thoughts are centered around life and death, because death has made an appearance in the circles I travel in.
Just this morning I found out that someone who was a big part of my formative years lost her husband suddenly. She was a teacher of mine in grade school, and since I went to a small grade school, and since there were amazing teachers there...it was more of a relationship approach to teaching. She is a wonderful loving woman who had a wonderful, loving husband.
Even as this was happening to her she had a lesson. To pay attention to the small moments, and to appreciate the people you love without waiting for a good reason to do it.
Death sucks. That's the understatement of all time, I'd bet money on it. When it comes swiftly or when it drags its feet. You either have to deal with the sudden absence and get the wind knocked out of you with finality, or you have to face that finality day by day, in crawling slow motion, suffering.
And that sounds...fatalistic, if it's not in bad form to use a sort of pun in a post like this...
And it is.
But I think once in a while it's good to be reminded about mortality, even though it never stops being scary. Because I think it's really, really important to try to remember tonight, and to try to hold on to the good things, even if they're small and momentary.
I think it's important, when you get a chance...when you MAKE a chance...to tell people you love that you love them. It's important in the face of death and it's important on a normal day...but if anything at all comes of bad things like this...I hope it's that people are reminded of who they love and who loves them. It's a world of pain I don't wish on anyone, but the light that comes out of that can be pretty powerful, too.
Sometimes I think I always grew up with that urgency, because I never got those moments, and I never got that relationship. I know absolutely and unequivocally I was loved but I never got to say it back. It was a gift, and I'm grateful to have that, because that isn't something everyone gets. It's a gift wrapped in grief and pain, but I think it's something that's taught me the lesson that got reinforced today my whole life.
There are no guarantees. There will be pain. But there's also love.
And if that isn't nice, I don't know what is.