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A life lesson I've learned - Something that took 20 years to learn

Posted July 12th, 2015 at 10:01 AM by Team Fail
Updated July 12th, 2015 at 10:18 AM by Team Fail

I haven't written a blog entry in ages, but this was something I was thinking about the other day. The header of all of my blog posts as of now puts all the advice of this wonderful song into focus, and while it's a good thing to keep in mind, there's one more thing I think I should add to it. As well, I find that putting words to paper and discussing stuff seems to help me with things, so perhaps this might get my mind off of this, at least for a bit.

Over the past two years, I've really learned an important and valuable lesson. In my social circle, and in an even broader audience my family, there are a lot of people whom I talk with rather often. It's never really occurred to me that I should cherish it every time I get to talk with them, whether it's at a social gathering, or if I walk past them and I manage to shoot a smile their way, as an acknowledgement of them. A friend of mine, who was three years younger than I, lived down the street from my place, and we'd hang out ALL THE TIME. We played Smash Bros on the N64, watched Pokémon movies, played pool on their mini pool table, went biking, all the things that kids did, we did, and we were, essentially, besties. Eventually, we grew up, I moved, we lost touch, although we did see each other on our Facebook timelines. Jr. High passed, I saw here there for a year, then High School, saw her during my Grade 12 year, and part of my extra year there upgrading.

Wait -- Part of?

Yeah. Part of. I know this will turn into a sob story, but it's part of my lesson, as well as the harsh realities of life. First, let me give a bit of context.

The city in which I live in is dangerous. Maclean's magazine rated our city one of the most dangerous in the country, and for good measure. If you remember in October of 2010, and if you live in Canada, you may have heard of the news of four High School football players killed by a drunk driver, as well as a fifth being injured and being in hospital for many months. I didn't know any of them (Yes, they attended my High School), but I saw, first hand, how many people their deaths impacted (The day after, the hallways were so quiet you could hear a pin drop, I kid you not). A lot of the fatalities here are attributed to drunk driving, because so many people move here from wherever to get jobs in the oilfield (This also explains why the housing market is so absurd here).

Anyways, I was at work one evening, and I was returning from a coffee break, when one of the cashiers (Who'd eventually be fired because she came to work higher than a kite, although that's beside the point) came down crying like no tomorrow. I asked her what happened, and she mentioned that this person I knew passed away, well, the name of this person. At the time, I was a bit tied up, and I wasn't fully aware that the person she was talking about was the same person that I knew. As I was heading back up, I was talking with one of the people that worked at the Starbucks in our store, and she said that she had known the person that had passed, and that she was talking with her sister. At this point, her mentioning that she had a sister, I asked what her sister's name was. She couldn't remember, until I mentioned a name.

It was at this point that it felt like the world was crumbling at my feet. I never experienced something like this until now, and I felt utterly helpless to stop it. The barista then apologised to me, but I told her I was fine. I was not.

I went back to the cash till I was working on, but I couldn't manage more than 15 minutes before I closed, told them a bit of what happened, got permission to leave my shift early, then ran to the back, then just broke down. I called home, letting my parent know that I was coming home much earlier than I was shifted for, then clocked out. I then proceeded to wait for the bus, although the HR guy offered me a ride home since he was done. As we headed to my place, he was talking with me on how he had experienced a similar event in his childhood, and that he was there if I needed to talk. I thanked him for that as I got out and headed to my place, and when I got in, I just sank to the floor.

I just didn't know what to do.

I stayed in my room the entire remainder of the evening. I didn't say a word. I just layed in my room, and just let my mind wander. Anything to silence the deafening sound that was the events of the day. They say that silence is golden, and at that time, I really had to agree.

It was also this time that all the "What ifs" started playing in my head.

- What if I had said hi again?
- What if I had asked to sit and chat at lunch?
- What if we hung out just once more for old time's sake?
- What if -?

I took the next two days off work to gather myself and get over the initial shock of what had happened, as well as get flowers and a card for her family. When we went to the floral shop, they had her number and address on file already because so many people had gone there in the days prior, which amazed me at the same time as it did hurt: All these people knew and cared about her, all those people had her in common, and she was no longer there to touch all those lives that she did.

Over the coming weeks and months, I learned more about what happened (It was a drunken hit and run, which was related to my context I mentioned earlier), and from that point on, I haven't trusted a single driver in this city. I've been much more alert since then when walking, I've even had a few close calls myself, including one back near the beginning of April.

Unfortunately, this story does not end here.

7 months later, give or take, I was preparing for my Science 30 exam, and finish my year of upgrading. I was so ready for the exam, I had a 93% in the class, probably doing the best of all the students there. I spent my morning reviewing my notes and munching on some of the provided muffins, when I decided to check my Facebook before heading in, just to give myself a break. Bad idea. I learned that one of my uncles had passed away that morning from a brain aneurysm (It wasn't mentioned at the time, although that came later), with 15 minutes to go before the exam.

It was the only thing on my mind during the exam, but my motivation to finish was to get through the exam, answering everything I could, so I could talk with someone in the family and find out what had happened. I finished, handed in my exam, and made a mad dash out of the room so I could check my Facebook. Fortunately the wireless internet was not taken down for the exam, so I was able to, and when the bus came, I went straight home. Mom wasn't there, so I presume she hadn't gotten the news. It was before she got home that I got a phone call, and as soon as I answered I gave them my most sincere apology. After that brief conversation, I impatiently waited for my mother to get home, and I then had to tell her the news. I can tell you now that having to tell a family member that another family member - a close one - had passed is one of the hardest things I've ever done.

A week later at the funeral, half the entire family was there purely out of respect for him. He was married for over 50 years to his wife, and he had many children, as well as grandchildren. As they closed the casket and wheeled it out, I watched one of his grandchildren cry like there was no tomorrow, and it was at that time I realised that I'd never see him again. Talk to him again. Smile with him again.

It was these events that taught me the most important lesson in life that there is no other way of teaching. You must cherish each and every day like it's your last. Smile with those around you, thank those that care for you, respect your elders, and above all, take care of yourself. If there's something you want to say to someone else, say it! Unsaid words and unacted-upon gestures lead to the what ifs that everyone has, and they'll pester at you for many months after. Whether it's losing a friend or a family member, it always hurts. The first time, it'll hurt the most, but it gets easier to handle as you go on through life. If you have a case of the what ifs, don't let it consume you. There's nothing you can do to change the past, but it will certainly affect your future if you let it. Talk about it. Don't keep your emotions bottled up - they may come out in the wrong way down the road. And if you find yourself in a deep pit, there's always someone to help, a shoulder to lean on, a arm to cry on. If you need to, distract yourself. Listen to some feel-good music. Keep your spirits bright, and your mind and soul brighter.

You don't have to follow this advice, but it's something I live by now. I'm no psychiatrist or psychologist, but I do know that there's a right way and a wrong way for everything, whether it's maintaining a relationship with someone or learning to deal with something after the fact.

And on a final note, I'd like to close out with this piece of advice:


As well, two songs that my friend and I made in Garageband when we were kids. I had them on a CD and I copied them to my computer as to not lose them. Gotta double-check the names though:

Spirit of Music:


La Ligne Magique:
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    リザードン's Avatar
    testy test
    Posted 7 Hours Ago at 9:34 PM by リザードン リザードン is offline
 

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