A Friend’s Frightening Loss and Reflection

There’s something that’s really been messing with my head. I recently reconnected with Susan on Facebook; she was someone I grew up with but hadn’t seen since graduation. Back in those days we didn’t have cell phones or social media. Letters and expensive long-distance phone calls were it and it was easy to lose touch with people. But now, the 21st century…what a time to be alive!

Anyway, last week Susan posted some photos and a love letter mentioning how had it had be two months since her husband John — her soulmate and high school sweetheart — had passed away. Cancer. Seems that it’s always cancer, doesn’t it? Sigh.

John, Susan and I all graduated high school together; we’re the same age. Fifty. What’s given me pause is that I’ve reached the age where friends and spouses are going to start passing away, and that scares the bejesus out of me. Death is natural, and I know friends will die, but losing MY spouse is what scares me most. Losing MY soulmate. The thought alone is almost more than I can bear. The grief and loneliness would be excruciating. But also, half my memories would die.

Jack and I have more than 32 years under our belts at this point, and we  joke that he holds half the memories and I hold the other half. When we reminisce about life events, we each remember different parts thus bringing the recollection to a whole. We truly are one another’s “other half.” What if my other half was no longer with me? What would happen to half our experiences? Half my memories? Half my life? Losing Jack is one of the most frightening things that could happen.

It’s too much to consider.

So instead, I’ve decided I need to remind myself daily that it truly is important to live every moment to its fullest. We all say it. We all see the motivational memes. But it’s true. Life is precious. Eventually one spouse will outlive the other and when the time comes, there should be no regrets. I don’t want Jack or myself to think we should have loved harder, lived better or laughed more. If you’re still reading, I ask that you please do the same. Love your family like it’s your job and demand the same of those close to YOU. Because, you just never know…


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  1. “it truly is important to live every moment to it’s fullest.” It is so real! If we commit to this mindful intention, it truly raises the quality of our aging process. Am living it and every year more intensely; I believe we can be a role model to our children and others to age gracefully.
    A very heart-warming blog!

  2. I just attended the memorial of a friend – a contemporary – who died suddenly, leaving a daughter my age and 2 older children/adults. This unexpected death of a peer reverberates in unsettling ways. We’ll be holding hands tonight.

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