human life is such a delicate thing
As I was walking out of my apartment last Sunday, an older man pulled up on his bike by my garage elevator asking if I knew Christopher*. At first, I wasn’t sure who he was referring to, it took me nearly a while to connect he was asking for my neighbor across the hall.
“Yes, of course. I know Christopher. He’s the kind gentlemen staying across from me.”
The older tanned bicyclist then proceeded to ask if I knew that Christopher passed away about a week ago and he was here to pay his respects to his ex-wife.
Shocked with a deer in headlight moment, I was washed with sorrow as this man continued to share what had happened.
“I’m his salsa instructor. The man loved to dance,” he said looking at me through his sunglasses.
“I received a call from Christopher about a few weeks ago that he was diagnosed with pancreas cancer, then I got another call with the news he passed not long after.”
Saddened by the awful news, I sent my condolences to his friend-slash-instructor, and went on with my day.
That entire Sunday put me out of my element. Though Christopher was an elderly man, he was still rather healthy. I’ve seen him work on our Home Association Board, and on weekends I’ve seen him cleaning up our garage from the freeway debris. It felt so sudden, I could hardly process the news. It reminded me human life can be delicate. It can be volatile. It will make you happy one day as you’re sitting having dinner with your loved one, then the next you could quite possibly take your last breath.
For the past week, I’ve been terrified. What if this happens to me? Though Stage 1 is hardly harmful or fatal, could I become the unlucky ones that never saw it coming?
Without being able to shake off this incessant fear crawling on my skin, I told myself that I have to at least try to make a bigger deal out of my life as I still have it. Because I’m not a kid anymore. Life is real. Illnesses are real. I am not longer that invincible child jumping down from the monkey bars knowing if I got cut, someone would give me a bandaid. There’s no easy fix to anything once you step into adulthood. People get sick and loved ones pass.
My life, as reckless as I’ve been treating it, is a delicate thing. But what’s within my control, is how I choose to live it.
*Christopher is a pseudonym.