UNITED STATES—Death is something that has always scared me. Not so much because I fear it, more with the notion of accepting it when it transpires. That is the one thing that we are all promised in life: DEATH. I recently had an unexpected death in the family that I don’t know how to put it in words except I did not see it coming. Saw the person one day, the next day they were gone. It is a reminder: you have to say what you mean to the people who matter in your life when they are in your presence.

You cannot assume they will be around forever, and that is the thing that I had to come to grips with this past week. Hell, a lot of people in my family had to come to grips with that as well and it’s a devastating blow. Why? You didn’t expect it, you just knew you would see that person tomorrow, but with the snap of a finger it all disappears and you are left with regret. I wish I would have said “I love you.” I wish I hadn’t had that fight or said those things that I said because now I cannot take it back.

Regret that is the biggest thing death shines on your life. You wish you spent more time with that person, picked their ear about a few things and made the most of the time you had with that person before death ultimately came knocking and just like that time is up. You sometimes start to question what you say to people who lost a loved one. I’ve come to the realization that you just have to be there, just give a hug; don’t try to make them feel as if you understand how they feel because here’s the reality: you don’t know. You might empathize, but that is NOT the same thing as being in that person’s actual shoes America.

Everyone processes death differently. Some jump into their work intensely and that helps them navigate through the grief. However, that does not work for everyone people. You cannot work the grief away because at some point it is going to hit you and when it does whew it may hit so strong your body, your mind may not know how to respond to the emotional heaviness that is taking a toll on one’s body. I have seen people lose parents, I have seen people lose children, I have seen children lose their parents, husbands, wives, best friends, brothers, sisters and so much more, the bond you have with people impacts how you react to the death.

Also at the same time, that distant relationship you have with a loved one can lead to a ton of regret that you wish you could go back and correct and make things better. There is no blueprint that tells you how to properly grapple with grief. Some people have to DISCONNECT from the world to properly understand what has transpired. You may just need to run, you may need to scream/shout and punch something (not someone) and so much more, whatever that outlet is use it to the best of your advantage.

I’ve seen people bottle it in (me being one of those individuals) and when the grief overtakes you it becomes so much that the waterworks just flow and flow. However, at the same time that cry is so powerful and invigorating because it allows you to process what transpired and move forward as a result. Life challenges us in a bevy of ways, but death is that one thing that forces us a lot of the time to reevaluate our life. What we’re doing, why we’re doing it, what we’re not doing, what we want to do, how to be a better person and so much more.

What I’ve learned most about death besides it being promised to us all is that sometimes no matter how much you prepare for death it can still shock you. Tell people how you feel today; don’t wait because you may not get that opportunity to tell them how you truly feel and share things that you wish you shared before they departed. Death is a challenge, that is the one thing that I have learned and it is a reminder life is short, live it to the fullest each day because you never know when your time is up.

Written By Jason Jones