40 Is Too Young to Die

I feel a bit like I was punched in the gut. I logged onto Facebook and read about the death of an old friend. He wasn’t someone that I was close to, but we grew up together and shared some good times. If you went through some old photo albums you’d find pictures of he and I.

Forty is too young to die. It is an age that we often hear used as a benchmark for getting older, but it is not old. It is not old by a long shot.

So I am sitting here staring at the keyboard, wondering. I don’t know all of the details, but it wasn’t an auto accident, a plane crash or any sort of thing like that. Those are tragedies but I find them easier to accept. Easier because you can look at them and say that they were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Terminal illnesses, sudden heart attacks and the like defy that sort of explanation, at least for me.

I stare at Facebook and see an entry about his untimely death. A bunch of comments from mutual friends of ours and shared memories. High school isn’t a recent experience any more. Every day it grows more distant, but it is not so long ago that I can’t remember.

His death marks the passing of old friends this year. Both were 40. Both were contemporaries of mine. Both taken far too early.

Sometimes people have tried to explain these losses to me as being part of a grand plan that I can’t understand. I hate those explanations. It is completely unsatisfying and useless to me. Don’t tell me that G-d’s plan is beautiful and that my mortal mind is incapable of understanding it.

What I understand is that there are kids who are orphaned, husbands and wives who are widowed, siblings who are in pain and parents who are struggling to figure out how the natural order of life has gotten so mucked up.

If you ask if I am upset and angry, I will tell you yes. It bothers me for a host of reasons. But it is what it is. If you ask me why I fight to try and live a life in which I do the things that make me happy and fulfill me it is because of moments like this.

It is not eloquent, but shit happens. Whenever it is that I do die I want to feel like I did my best to live the life I want to live. I’ll paraphrase my grandfather OBM, when death comes for me I am going to kick him in the balls, poke him  in the eyes and throw his bony ass out the nearest window.

Grab your loved ones my friends and hold them tight ‘cuz you just don’t know what tomorrow brings.

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