On Life’s Brevity


Every day divides my life between what was before and what is to come.  Yet some divisions seem more noteworthy, for their joy or solemnity than others.  We live our lives one day at a time, with or without chemicals to ease the pain.  But some days we remember as more than just another twenty-four hours, time stretching with details looming large.

These last three weeks have felt like that practically every day.  Two weeks ago I had surgery in an ultimately futile attempt to avoid the inevitable.  A minor medical event, a doctor removed two small cancers from my skin, little dermatological aberrations hardly worth a second thought to a younger man, perhaps.  But to me, it seems like yet another sign of my eventual decline and passing.  Nothing to do about it, I suppose.  It happens to us all.  I could change my life, get on a treadmill, eat healthier, give up my bad habits, and, of course, use sunscreen.  But ultimately, all of that will not forestall the inevitable.

To add to these gloomy thoughts, last week a friend called to tell us that her husband had died.   He was a year older than I am, and his passing left little but sadness for his family.  We went to his memorial service, trying to remember the best things about a man who lived too short a life, a life filled with too much unhappiness, yet, I believe, more than enough happiness.  His wife, a woman of amazing strength, kept her tears mostly in check as she read a beautiful remembrance of a man who lived far too short a life.

At the end of here memorial, through tears she reminded those who needed no reminder of how short our time is on this earth, and how important it is to tell those who you love that you love them.  Everyday.  Say it ten times, or a hundred, but don’t ever forget to say it.  It’s the one thing that might make a difference in our lives, as short as they are.

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About Chris van Hasselt

I eat, sleep, play guitar...but wait, there's more!
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