I’ve had back-to-back tragic news to absorb over the past week. A daughter of a former co-worker was killed in a terrible car accident. She was only 28 years old. She was able to cling to life for almost a week before passing, so at least her family and friends had the opportunity to say goodbye, even as their hearts were breaking.
Then I learned that a local writer who taught a memoir writing class that I took last year passed away suddenly. She was only 50, and was such a vibrant, bright, witty person. She had suffered from seizures since being in a bicycle accident while in college. It is believed she had a seizure in her sleep.
I only spent a few Saturday afternoons with this charming woman, along with a group of equally interesting writers. At the time, I was just beginning to try to write about Dad, and his experiences with Alzheimer’s. This blog was started with some of the building blocks I learned in her writing class. We had to submit a brief piece or two for critique and I remember being secretly proud as the teacher mentioned how moved she was by my work (she didn’t realize I was in the room at the time). She let us peruse her giant file of notes that she kept as she wrote her novels. It was a fascinating look inside the mind of a writer at work.
So two sudden deaths, lovely people with so much to offer to the world who found their lives cut tragically short. Beyond the despair, there’s a hard but valuable lesson to be learned. Life is by the moment. Not all of those moments will be wonderful or memorable, but some of us will have less time on this planet to make our mark than others. So we must use our precious time wisely.