Yesterday, I was blindsided by a  phone call letting me know that a mutual friend of ours had died.

I have been sad ever since.

To be blindsided is to be hit unexpectedly. The pain is amplified exponentially because you are wholly unprepared.

While on a rational level we know that all people die, we have an expectation that it should only happen after someone has had a chance to live a long and fulfilling life. Or at the very least only after we have been able to see them one last time; to share one more laugh, one more story, or some form closure or a goodbye.

When a child dies it is unthinkable. When a young adult dies it is tragic. When a friend your own age passes, it hits particularly close to home. If it could happen to them, then it could conceivably happen to you at any point as well.

How do we avoid being blindsided when we don’t want to see what we know will eventually come our way? How do we brace ourselves for the inevitable? How do we respond when that hit happens?

Frankly, I’m not sure.

I assume that at some point when the daze of a blindside shock recedes, it serves as a wake up call reminding us of what is important. A motivation to reconnect with long lost friends, or schedule that lunch, dinner, trip with a friend you haven’t made time for. A clarion call  to reach out to those we love, to let them know how we feel and to make it a priority to share whatever time we can with them. And finally maybe it requires us to consciously and uncomfortably acknowledge the mortality of each and every person we love. To never take their presence for granted and in doing so treat each other with greater intention, compassion and grace.

My apologies for both the somber content and brevity of this note. But I have neither the inclination nor energy to write about much more today.

Instead, I will use the extra time to reach out to a few friends, to check my blindside, and make some plans. Perhaps you will do the same.

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