We Think We Have Forever Until We Don’t

Brooke Cagle

There I sat, solemnly, at my third funeral in three months. My mind racing, my heart heavy, the room overflowing with a sense of sadness. I thought to myself, this is too much darkness for anyone to handle in such a short period of time. I watched as others around me cried their hardest, closing their eyes tightly in pain and disbelief, as I tried my best not to fall apart completely.

My head felt foggy, memories rushed through my mind of every possible encounter I had ever had with that person. I felt this way at all three of the funerals I had attended in those three months. I was emotionally drained. I was brought to tears just by imagining the pain some of the people in the room must have been feeling. Those who were closest to the one who passed, the heartache they must have been suffering. I don’t know if I would be strong enough to handle it.

The sad reality slowly sank in. In three short months, a friend, a co-worker, and a family member were gone. And although these three individuals left this earth under three very different circumstances, one thing held true: No one saw it coming. And that is because all of us think we have forever, until we don’t.

I not only learned a lot in those three months, but I took the time to truly reflect on life. I thought deeply about myself, my family, and my friends, about my career and the choices I make each day. I started to look at the world a little differently than I did before.

I came to realize a lot about how we as humans choose to live when we believe we have forever to do so:

• We put off dreams and aspirations because we always believe we can just “start tomorrow.”
• We become so bitter at a person who we may have been close to at one point in our lives, that we end up losing touch. And we stay bitter for so long that we forget why we even stopped talking to them in the first place.
• We take the little things for granted like our health and having a roof over our heads.
• We complain about the insignificant things in life, the things that do not matter whatsoever. We complain more often than we express gratitude or appreciation towards others.
• We sometimes feel invincible and it makes us reckless – like having a night out drinking and then driving home drunk because we think “it can’t happen to us.”
• We become distracted and tend to forget what actually gives our lives meaning – like family, friends, and creating fond memories.
• We forget to appreciate those who help us through life, and we forget to always show love, and warmly embrace friends and family. We often forget the true meaning of friendship and family.

We are all human. All of us have done at least one or two, if not more, of the above because we are imperfect creatures. But sometimes we need to realize that we do not have forever. You could wake up one day and that person that means everything to you could suddenly be gone.  And all those things you said and didn’t say, all those plans you made, all the thank you’s and I love you’s you may have wanted to say… well, you won’t be able to.

I know life can get the best of us. It can make us distracted, it can cause us to complain and forget to be grateful and appreciative. Life happens, but we have to try and change our way of thinking. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Start truly living now, to the fullest you possibly can. We don’t have forever. So live like today may be your last.

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