We have so many intentions to do so many things. We plan to get around to them eventually, when we have more time. But sometimes we don’t have as much time as we think.
H and I met in high school. He’d always greet me with a huge smile in the hallway. When I asked how his day was going, he’d answer, “Oh, you know me. I live my life a quarter-mile at a time,” laughing and mocking my love for the movie The Fast and the Furious. He daydreamed in class and drew cute and funny cartoons that featured me and the people we knew. He was smart and silly and coined witty catch phrases that caught like wildfire among our friends, some of which we still say. When a friend of ours died unexpectedly, H and I went to the funeral together, leaning on each other for support. He was an impressive musician and played drums in a punk band. We also kissed once.
After high school I left for college and moved to a city about four hours away from my hometown. A couple of years later, H moved there as well. He needed a change and to break some old habits. By then I had a different life. I was going to college full time, working, and had a busy social life. H and I had grown apart after high school, but I was excited to know we were living in the same city again.
We chatted on the phone and via text message. I told him about my classes and he told me about his job at a popular pizza spot, a place I had been a few times. We made tentative plans to hang out, but something always came up. I always intended to hang out with him, but I never made it happen. After a year or so, H moved back home.
Shortly thereafter, I was at work when my cell phone lit up, and I saw on the display it was a close friend from home. I didn’t answer at first, but then I thought about how strange it was that he was calling me in the middle of a weekday when we were both usually at work. I answered the call and heard the somber news. H had died of a drug overdose. He was only 24.
I went home and went to the funeral. I started crying in the car before we even got there, and there were moments when I wondered if I would ever stop. Afterwards, about thirty of us gathered together to tell stories, laugh through our tears, and to drink ourselves into oblivion. We cried and reminisced into the wee hours of the night until one-by-one we started to pass out from emotional exhaustion and alcohol. H’s death was unexpected and hit us hard.
Death is a strange thing. It reminds us of our own mortality. It reminds us that we only have a limited amount of time. H has been gone a long time, but I still think about him, and it is still weird knowing that he is not here.
I have always regretted that I did not see H at least one more time before he died. I do not remember the last time I saw him.
We don’t know how much time we have, but it’s finite, so it’s important we prioritize and use our time wisely. We get busy and sidetracked going through the motions of daily life, putting off one intention after another. If we put them off too long though, it may eventually be too late.