Death, Invincibility, and Living in the Now

About two weeks ago, our neighbor came over and said he had something he needed to talk about. He found out that he had cancer. A highly aggressive form of cancer too (he was having trouble breathing). Today, Tabitha called me to tell me he had passed away.

I am not sure what to think; I am not sure what I should be feeling right now. Here was a man who was approaching retirement. No doubt thinking that he would then have time to do all the things one does in retirement. But no. Retirement was a dream that went poof the moment he breathed his last breath.

What does that mean for me?

I am not getting any younger. My 20’s are a distant memory. My 30’s were the decade I thought I’d finally figure everything out… and didn’t. Now in my early 40’s, I see 50 looming like a oncoming freight train. Saving for retirement should be priority.

My Grandpa Hall retired sometime in his 60’s. Him and my grandma had some good years together, where they traveled and did stuff. Quickly though I watched as dementia slipped in. My grandpa was perfectly healthy minus the dementia. I watched as he became a shell of the man he was. Within his eyes one could see that he knew what was going on. For him, retirement equaled a few good years, dealing with dementia, and then death. I don’t want that.

I don’t want to wait until some magical age where I can retire and FINALLY do all the things I’ve wanted to do. I want to do those things now.

My Grandpa Ayers died in his sleep, at home, in his early 60’s. (I still tear up even thinking about this. Death makes us just a little bit raw. It’s as if we know, deep down, there is something more… that we were meant for so much more.) My grandpa lived his life to the fullest. Investing in my brother and I when my dad was busy working, providing for our family. If anything, I want to live like my grandpa. Who even after he had retired, found out he had to go back to work (a man he had invested with ran off with my grandparent’s money). All through it, I never heard my grandpa complain. He just smiled, loved on us kids, and went to work. Work equaled a means to enjoy his family.

Death can come for any of us at any moment. To think we are invincible, that we somehow can ward off death, is a fool’s thought. Just like my next door neighbor, one moment you are here, the next moment you are facing eternity.

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