Most people at my age have experienced death. Just hearing the word makes me want to cry. When my grandparents passed away, I was devastated. But they were sick and had lived long lives. Passing away and going to heaven had put them in a much better place. It wasn’t until recently that I experienced the death of someone much younger, a childhood friend. The grief and pain has been paralyzing.
Caitlin was twenty six years old. We met in first grade and remained friends through high school. As most kids do, we parted ways for college and lost touch. During the past few times that I was back home however, I ran into her. Looking back now, I am so grateful for those opportunities. Last Saturday, Caitlin lost her life in a tragic car accident. Never in my life have I experienced such paralyzing emotional pain. Even though we weren’t best friends, my heart ached for her and her family. She was a beautiful person inside and out; not a mean bone in her body. Why on earth did something so terrible happen to such a compassionate person?
When you experience the loss of someone in your life there are many takeaways you gain from the experience. Allow them to shape you. It may seem difficult at the time and possibly the last thing that you fathom with tears streaming down your cheeks and an ache in your heart, but you can learn from emotional pain too.
When death comes close to you, everything else in life seems so minor. In thinking about how fragile life really is and how quickly it can be taken away from us, I didn’t see a point in making myself feel so stressed about work or caring about what others think of me. Why should I be weighed down by the world when I can sit on top of it all and just live? Life is short and unpredictable.
More than anything in the world, you realize that taking care of YOU is most important. Take the time, notice your needs and just care for yourself more; keep in mind your own well-being. That’s not to say that you should become selfish, but be aware of what’s important to you. Not what everyone else sees as important or what your best friend is doing. Dive deep into what your heart tells you. Forget about feeling like you always having to appease the world.