Gratitude and Mortality

Mortality.

Gratitude.

Why is it that we never acknowledge how amazing our life is until we are faced with mortality? I am not afraid of my own death, I accepted my own mortality years ago and am prepared for the moment that my heart stops pumping and I simply stop being alive. I’m not afraid of this happening to me, the mortality of others is not so simple.

I was thinking about it today, in fact I think about it a lot, how everyone we love must eventually die. I try to appreciate those I love as much as possible and make sure I leave nothing unsaid, I’ve made that mistake before.

The events of tonight have hit me like a ton of bricks, bringing out the realization that I’m not nearly grateful enough for those I love and all I have. Even though I try not to take anything for granted, I think we all do to some extent. So what’s made me start thinking this way tonight? What brought about this realization that we are our at most grateful when faced with mortality? Well, the obvious.

Tonight I watched one of my greatest fears becoming the reality of a complete stranger. About an hour ago, on my way home from the store my mom and I found ourselves stuck in traffic just up the road from home. Since we live in the country we knew it had to have been a car accident but nothing prepared us for what we saw when it was our turn to turn around.

As the car in front of us pulled away I saw him. A boy about my age laying facedown on the pavement, unmoving and surrounded by people. I was driving so I didn’t look longer than a couple seconds but my mom did, she saw his totaled car. We don’t know if he is alive or not, I hope and pray that he is.

I spent the next hour trying to get us home in pitch blackness on strange roads with my little driving experience, the whole time thinking about that poor man and his family. I was faced with my biggest fear, the inevitable. I was driving my mom, the person I love most in this world, with little experience and after having just seen what a car accident can do. There was a very real chance that I could crash and that my mom could have been in a similar situation as that man.

I spent the whole time driving basically chanting the prayer “God keep us safe and let that man be okay.” I hate not knowing if he’s going to survive. I hope he does. That no mother gets the call tonight telling her that her child is dead.

It’s strange how selfishly our minds work in situations like this, going back to my point. We are never more grateful for what we have than when we see someone else losing everything. When we are faced with the inevitable; mortality.

Being safe and knowing my family is safe at home now with me is a relief I can’t begin to explain. As anyone would be I’m grateful that it wasn’t someone I knew on that pavement, although my heart breaks for that man’s family and loved ones. Being faced yet again with the mortality of others has made me so much more grateful that those I love are still safe. Still I doubt I’ll be able to stop worrying for that man and his loved ones.

It shouldn’t take seeing something as awful as what I saw tonight to make you realize just how grateful you are for all that you have. You’re alive and someone loves you. You have endless possibilities before you. Don’t wait for death to come knocking or even just lurking to realize what you have. Be grateful now, leave nothing unsaid, because for all you know that poor soul facing death might be your own tomorrow.

I don’t know that young man’s name or if he’s even still alive but I hope he is. If you’re religious I know he and his family could use all the prayers they can get and if you aren’t religious, maybe you could send them some good thoughts, positive vibes, energy, anything. I’m from a Christian family and we’ll all be doing all of the above tonight. Hopefully he’ll be alright, I’ll post an update if I hear anything.

Thanks for reading, I hope at the very least my story of tonight will remind everyone to be a little more grateful for the people around us. I know it’s defiantly reminded me.

-A

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