A woman in my life passed away recently. This is the first time something like this has happened to me.
I need to protect her anonymity so I can’t give any details about her other than she was stunningly beautiful, had a good heart, was in her mid-30s, and had a long history of health problems. She was someone I had known for many years. She passed away just three months after we had last seen each other, making her death a very eerie and uncomfortable experience for me. I suppose if it had been over a year since I last saw her, it would have been different (i.e. easier). Maybe.
When I first received the news I felt sick to my stomach in a way I’ve never felt before. I’ve never had anyone close to me die. I’ve had grandparents pass away, but that’s another thing entirely. Those were family members in distant cities.
My first reaction was shock. Not the kind of shock when you jump while watching a horror movie. More like the kind of shock that stays with you for hours and hours, never letting up.
My shock then slowly morphed into…I’m not sure what the emotion was…but I’m going to call it disappointment. Don’t hold me to that wording…that may not be the best way to describe it.
Here’s the deal. She did not have to die. She could have lived a long and fruitful life. Her death was the direct result of behaviors she insisted upon continuing despite knowing they were detrimental to her health, which was never 100% to begin with. Moreover, there were certain people depending on her and this didn’t sway her thinking or her actions. When I say “actions”, I’m talking about physical behaviors and mental attitudes. Again, I can’t give specifics. Sorry.
We all get into bad habits. I’ve certainly had my share, and still do. But we all have the ability, if we want it bad enough, to change our habits so we can live better lives. I have always wanted a better life, ever since I was little. It’s hard for me to understand people who don’t have that trait. To have problems, to continue with those problems, and to refuse to change. I think most people are like that to some degree. I don’t understand it. I never have. I wish I did.
Now that someone special is gone because of this, I’m…disappointed. I’m disappointed at her. She didn’t have to do this. She had a choice. I’m also “disappointed” that there are millions of other people like her, who embrace their problems and never let them go, bringing great harm to themselves and to all those around them.
Emotions being the irrational things they are, I might very well be just as disappointed if this woman was doing everything right in her life and was suddenly killed in a car crash. Then I’d probably be disappointed about how senseless and useless her death was. So maybe these feelings are “required” regardless of how a person goes. (Yes, I am well aware of the five stages of grief, though knowing the five stages of fear are much more useful.)
Here’s something interesting. About two years ago, she told me she was doing to die. I was talking about how my life would look ten years from now. As I talked, she slowly started shaking her head.
“No,” she said quietly, “I’m not going to make it ten more years.”
“What are you talking about?” I said, “In ten years you’ll be just a little older than I am now.”
“No,” she said again, “I’m not going to make it ten years.”
Goals work. Affirmations work. Attitude works. Self talk works. Even when these things are negative. If you start believing and talking about how you’re going to be successful in life, then guess what? You’ll very likely be successful. If you start believing and talking that you’re going to die soon, then guess what?
Yeah. This stuff works both ways.
This is why you need to be very, very careful about what you believe, what you say, what you assume, and what you act on. When you say something negative about yourself, when you think something negative about yourself, it has real-world, external consequences to your life. Bad ones.
The problem is that you can’t see these consequences immediately. They take time to manifest. If you stab your own leg with a fork, you will see and feel immediate and terrible consequences. Therefore, I have a feeling you probably won’t do that.
But if you walk around thinking or saying “Women don’t like me” or “I’m ugly” or “I’m too short” or “I’m not good at making money” or “I’m a wimp” or “I’m a beta” or “I have oneitis” or “Women only like muscular guys” or “I can’t do that”, the negative consequences are just as real as stabbing yourself with a fork, except you can’t see them immediately. They take months or years to manifest, but trust me, they’ll manifest just the same.
Because nothing bad happens to you immediately, I have a feeling you’re believing or saying something negative about yourself right now. And if you are, you’re just as insane as the guy who stabs himself in the leg with a fork.
This woman, this wonderful, beautiful, kind-hearted woman, died for no reason. Her death was not set in the stars; it was not predestined. It did not have to happen. It could have been avoided. She was young and strong, both in body and will.
Tragic and pointless. And she’s not alone. I wish she was the last person to ever die, literally or figuratively, because of a refusal to change.
But I know she won’t.