Sunset behind a tree, a symbol of someone who died unexpectedly

When applied to someone you know, the words “died unexpectedly” have a unique power to reach into your heart and instantly shred it into a thousand tiny pieces.

Last week we lost a neighbor and friend that we’ve seen almost daily on our block for over a decade. She was my age and always seemed happy and healthy. Her daughter has been friends with my daughter since before kindergarten. She lived almost exactly a block from our house, and her in-laws lived just two doors down from us until a few weeks ago. I am sad for them, sad for us, and sad for our community.

These times double as an unwelcome, but much needed catalyst for self evaluation. Whenever I hear that someone died unexpectedly, it always send me swirling into a period of serious reflection where I ask myself questions such as:

And I am almost never satisfied with my answers.

But that’s why they are such important questions to ask.

P.S. This was a tragic happening, however this was not a close friend of mine. I didn’t even know her “real” name until I read her obituary (she went by a shortened version of her name). I’m sad for sure, but not grieving. No condolences or words of encouragement are needed here. What you can do instead is think about these questions with me and add any thoughts you’d like to below.

P.S.S. Here are some quotes from one of my favorite books, How to Live a Good Life that seem very appropriate to share here.

1 reply
  1. Scott Moehring
    Scott Moehring says:

    Good questions, and it’s too bad most of us only ask them after tragedy (myself included). Here’s a couple more lines of questioning I like…

    “Of all the things on my list, which of them are uniquely mine to do? Which wouldn’t get done without me (and if not done, an important part of the world would actually notice and care)?”

    “If I had a Magic Wand, what would I make happen? Think carefully, would I really want that to happen? If the answer is still yes, then does it really require a magic wand? If not, then why not get started?”

    “1) Think of 5 people who are very rich. 2) Think of 5 people who are very attractive. 3) Think of 5 people who would love to have you share something with them. 4) Think of 5 people who would love to share something with you. Are any of the people in lists 1 and 2 also in lists 3 and 4? Are any of the people included in lists 3 and 4 because of how rich or attractive you are? Then why are you worried about becoming richer and more attractive? Instead, become someone who people want to share with, and who want you to share with them.”


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *