Life is Short

Around two weeks ago, while scrolling on Facebook, I came across several posts talking about a lady I went to high school with. Her name is Erika, and though I didn’t know all that well, I remembered her from school, and we’ve been friends on Facebook or a while. All they said was “pray for a miracle” or “thinking of you”…things of that nature. Different people I went to school with were talking about her. I couldn’t decipher what was going on, so I messaged one of her good friends that we know mutually. I asked what was going on, and the answer was shocking. It turns out that Erika had caught pneumonia, and both lungs had collapsed. She could not undergo surgery, as it was determined she was too weak. Apparently, she has had autoimmune issues in the past that complicated everything further.

Time goes by, everyone connected by school and friendships were posting pictures, sharing memories, and offering prayers, positive thoughts and all-around vibes of encouragement. Everyone was holding out hope that she would, by some miracle, recover. Someone set up a GoFundMe to help with medical bills and other costs. I wish I could have donated to the cause, but I’m in a rough financial situation right now.

Yesterday (03 Mar), I discovered that Erika had died from her illness. No one said it outright, but people mentioning her using past tense, messages of “till we meet again”, mentions of heaven and now being with deceased relatives, and “RIP” kinda gave it away. I’m sad for her husband, to whom she married not all that long ago, and the group of women who she always hung out with, best of friends since school.

This kind of thing hits home to me, seeing as how Erika was around my age. She was something like 48 years old—not even 50 yet. It shows that tomorrow is not promised, and that you never know when will be the end of your time in this life. Years ago, if I heard of someone dying in mid-life, it was sad, but I figured I was a ways off from that. Many teenagers and early 20-somethings think they’re immortal and indestructible. As we get older, however, the notion of people our age passing away becomes more and more of a wake-up call. I can only imagine someone like Betty White, who next January will celebrate her 100th birthday. Most of her friends have probably died ahead of her.

I know it will happen to everyone at some point. Unfortunately, some face it sooner than others. My brother died at age 42; he would have turned 55 this coming July. I’ve managed to reach 48 years so far. I like to think I’m in decent health, even though I am overweight. Last I checked, my heart was still in decent shape. My family has a history of heart problems. My grandpa and my dad died from heart issues; my brother had a seizure, and aspirated vomit is what did him in. Fortunately for me, my issue is mental health, for which I take medication. I am blessed to wake up each morning and face another day. Death awaits us all; I just hate thinking about it, and want to see as many days as possible before the inevitable happens.

Let me end with this quote:

“Our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them.”

George Eliot

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