It goes without saying, when a young life has ended, a midst of the grieving, there is often a question of why that young life was cut short. Whether it’s a child or even a young adult, it leaves us puzzled and wondering why these “bad things (death)” happen to such young/good people; as if death was a punishment that they didn’t deserve.
This year, towards the end of our family vacation, I received a rather unexpected message from my cousins girlfriend, Becca – news that certainly caught me off guard and shook me to the core. My cousin Jason, who was just a year younger than I and suffering from the same heart condition as myself, had passed away in her arms just a few hours before. I couldn’t believe it – I still can’t believe it. His defibrillator, which was working correctly and trying desperately to restart his heart was unable to do so. No doubt, this began a series of “What if’s?” which started to roll through my mind. What if my defibrillator didn’t work properly? What if my heart goes into a funny rhythm that the defibrillator can’t get me out of? What if it didn’t work at all? What if I fell asleep and never woke up? Question upon question continued to roll through my mind. These were soon replaced with, Why did Jason have to die so young?, How come I’m still alive and Jason isn’t?
Jason was an honest, generous, and very caring man who had very much the same positive attitude and outlook on life as I did. When we were toddlers, we even looked so much alike, we probably could have passed as twins. We were a couple of curly, blond-haired, blue-eyed cuties! As adults, we shared nearly the same exact heart condition, going to doctors to have many of the same tests performed, taking the same medications, and even having the same type of implants put in to save our lives. With the invention of social networking, we were able to keep in contact with one another even better, often discussing how our appointments went with our cardiologists and how our hearts were doing, perhaps hoping that we could make each others condition better in some sort of way.
During the funeral, my heart sank for Becca. I could not even imagine what it would be like to lose the one you love, holding them tight as their life quickly slipped away. No doubt that Becca was likely asking the same question, Why did Jason have to die? Jason and Becca had not yet married but they shared their lives with one another and with God as well as with Beccas three children for over 7 years. So for all intent and purposes, the only thing that made them different from any married couple was essentially a piece of paper. Jason was an incredible father figure, raising Becca’s kids as if they were his very own. He had a big heart and the kids loved him.
With Jason’s passing, I was reminded how precious life is how we never truly know when “our time” is going to be, so we must cherish those special moment’s with those that we love, no matter how brief those moments may be. A quick visit, a card, even a quick phone call just to say hello – its important to make time for those brief moments rather than allowing them to pass because we have convinced ourselves that we don’t have time to do them.
I think everything happens for a reason and there is a reason that Jason had to pass so young. Perhaps God had a bigger plan for Jason up in heaven while he still has other plans for those of us still here on earth. Some of us are destined to have health aliments, some of us are meant to be advocates and fight for cures and represent others facing the same fate. Some of us are meant to motivate and encourage others to live a happier, healthier life. Some of us are meant to fight the big fights to teach others what being strong truly means. Some of us were meant to pass young to help others understand the meaning of love after a loss or to bring a troubled family closer together. Regardless of the reasons, one thing is for sure…life is a gift so we should live life to the fullest, overcome the obstacles we may face, and never take the life we are given for granted because you never know when our time here on earth will be over.