The First Things

SunsetOne of Will’s closest friends died yesterday. It was sudden; on Monday night, he left a playful phone message for Will, teasing him about the new girl in his life, and on Tuesday morning, he had a heart attack. He was only 53.

Will is stunned. We never expect these kinds of things to happen. And, of course, he is very sad. He’d known his friend since they were both 17, and as two Australian boys who both ended up on the west coast of Canada, they became even closer. “I feel like I’ve lost a member of my family,” Will said to me earlier today.

I don’t know what to do, except to listen. It breaks my heart to hear such sadness in his voice. And though we should never have to lose friends so young, I think how fortunate Will was to have such a dear friend, a friend who had known him for more than half a lifetime and from half a world away, a friend who ended up living only a couple of hours away. No wonder they both valued the friendship so much.

A sudden death is a shocking reminder about the fragility of life. And it’s a reminder about the importance of keeping the first things first in our lives. The first things are the friendships and family relationships we nurture, the love we share with one another. They’re the things we need to focus on in our lives.  They are the things that matter.

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About Sally

Poet, seeker, author, mom. Celebrating the beauty and mystery that surrounds us and learning to trust in the journey.
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28 Responses to The First Things

  1. El Guapo says:

    It’s sad that it takes something like this to snap us out of our ruts and make us appreciate what we have.
    For what it’s worth from an online acquaintance you barely know, sincere condolences to Will.
    He was lucky to have a friend like that, even if it was for too short a time.

  2. kingmidget says:

    There aren’t really words that address situations like this. My best friend passed away from a heart attack when he was 30. It’s been 18 years. A close co-worker passed away from colon cancer two years ago and now my current best friend, a woman I’ve known for more than 20 years, may very well learn at the end of this week that she has colon cancer as well. These are the most difficult things I think we can possibly deal with. I don’t know what to say except this … we all feel your pain and Will’s pain. And as El Guapo says … maybe this can help us appreciate more what we have, who we have, and what they man to us. These circumstances can also help motivate us to do better, be better, and live better. Let Will know that your blogging buddies are behind him and thinking about him.

  3. Marianne says:

    It’s always sad to hear of an untimely death, but particularly of someone whom you have known for most of your life. I think it’s true to say that a little piece of you dies with them that day, as things will never be the same again.

    Time to pull your friends and loved ones close, Sally.

  4. Add my condolences from SoCal. It’s so sad! Our thoughts are with Will.

  5. Many condolences to Will. That’s so upsetting to lose such a close friend in such a sudden way (of course, it’s sad to lose a close friend in any way). It must be so devastating. It does remind us to cherish everyone because life is fragile. And it sure puts things in perspective. Many good thoughts to you and Will at this very sad time.

  6. Lyn Morgan says:

    Do you remember Uncle Pete at Dad’s celebration? He tried to speak, but had to give up. He and Dad had been friends for 45 years, and I know he was hit very hard by Dad’s death. This year, Pete and I will celebrate our 50th anniversary of meeting though neither has the partner from that time. Please give your ‘Will’ my condolences. A death is never easy, but his friend was much too young to go. I’m glad he has you in his life, as you will be able to provide comfort, and everyone needs that when faced with such a loss.

    Mum

    Sent from my iPad

    Lyn

  7. Diane C says:

    So sorry Sally to hear you are going through this…at least Will has a shoulder to lean on in you.

  8. Shocking reminders are always filled with mixed emotions. You’re so sad to hear the devastating news, yet you’re happy to have such wonderful people in your life to get through it. Condolences for Will, this will stay with him for some time. I’m glad he has you to lean on.

    • I think that often we need those reminders to “get back on track” about what’s important. What is really lovely to me is that Will and his friend had stayed so close and had spoken regularly in recent weeks. At least there won’t be regret for not staying closer.

  9. Brigitte says:

    My condolences, Sally and you are so right about this. Things like this make us remember what’s important, really important.

  10. Jerry says:

    This is the second blog I’ve read in the last few days that is a personal account of an untimely death. http://rashelbell.wordpress.com/2013/01/07/love-laughter-and-tears/ Last year a number of acquaintances in their 40s/50s passed away or fell seriously ill. I don’t believe we appreciate how common early death and illness are, because personal tragedies don’t make the News. Although, when we hear of such instances we are shaken as if a lightning strike has hit somebody nearby, I don’t think it really cracks our veneer of personal invincibility. There is a buddhist practise called the Five Remembrances. That we will get sick, grow old, die, lose loved ones, and that our actions are our only true possessions. Perhaps, if we reflected on these every day we would indeed keep first things first. Thanks for posting Sally.

  11. Absolutely right, Sally. You’re a blessing in Will’s life.

  12. vbholmes says:

    So hard to lose a contemporary–especially one you’ve known since childhood. My condolences.

  13. My condolences to Will. Unspeakable, to lose someone close like that, so suddenly…

  14. Debra Kristi says:

    I’m so sorry for Will’s loss. You’re lucky to have each other, especially at a time such as this. It is never easy losing someone close to you. Those years of memories are the greatest gift Will could possibly receive. Hold fast through the ride ahead.

    • Thanks, Debra. I think it must be particularly hard losing one of your only connections to a home that is halfway around the world; but the stories Will has shared are quite delightful. They had a long (and colourful) history together.

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