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When Tragedy Reminds You What Makes Life Worth Living

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Why is it that only great tragedy or life-threatening situations often make us realize that we should live every moment like it’s our last? Sooner or later, we tend forget that lesson as well. Life goes on, we begin to under-appreciate the things we have, and then unfortunately tragedy will strike again, and for a few months we will remember to grab life by the horns and savor every minute we have on this earth. But then the cycle will inevitably continue, and we start to forget once more. Sometimes a tragedy is too late to appreciate the people you love, the things that make you happy and how great it truly is to be alive.

Two women on the beach. One woman is in a wheelchair, and the other woman is standing next to her and has her arm wrapped around her. Their heads are touching and they are smiling.

It’s time we all try to remember that more frequently — to tell everyone we love them, to spend time with people we care about and do the things we enjoy doing but put off because we always think there’s time left to do them. Life is too fleeting, so if you’re reading this, please go and spend time with the people important to you, hug them for no reason, do the things that you’re passionate about, count your blessings and live life the way you want to live it, because in the end it’s not the amount of money that you have, the things you own or the promotions you got at work.

I believe life is measured by the amount of love you send out and the amount of love you receive. Life is lived in the small moments of laughter, friendship and family, not in the endless days struggling behind a desk or balancing your checkbook. Relish the moments that make you happy and try to create more of them, because that is what makes life worth living.

This story was written in honor of my late Uncle Craig, who truly embodied this message despite living with chronic pain. He celebrated life every day and went out of his way to make people smile. When I was a child, if he called our house, he would make the most ridiculous voices and try to convince us that he was someone else. Even if we knew it was him, it still always made us laugh. As I got older and caller ID was invented, the funny voices may have faded away, but the calls never did. He always made sure I was remaining strong and optimistic through my health issues, and that my mother/caregiver kept on laughing.

I love you, Uncle Craig, and although I will sorely miss you, I will keep your spirit alive by living this message every day.

Man and woman posing for photo. Their heads are touching.

The Mighty is asking its readers the following: Describe a memory with a loved one you didn’t realize you’d held so dear until after they’d passed away. If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Originally published: February 16, 2016
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