Getting a perspective

There has got to be a better way to learn to appreciate life than having 3 dead colleagues in 3 months.

I lost a former colleague in December. The guy retired in the summer and took up part time with another company. Friday he was at a conference as healthy as he could be. Sometime over the weekend he died in his sleep.

Brandon lost a coworker in January. The health nut and gym rat played tag football with friends the evening before. Sometime that night he had a massive heart attack and died in his home.

And I just lost another colleague last Friday. Former CEO was leading another group, still working in our offices 3 days a week. He would get a piece of chocolate from me everyday including Thursday.  He went surfing Friday with friends like he usually did. He paddled over a wave but didn’t surf. Friends checked on him and  found him unresponsive on the board.

With him, the loss feels a lot more profound that the one we lost in December.   I guess because we were still used to seeing him in the office once in a while.  Like I said, dude was still here, in my office, and we talked chocolate and business.  I got him some Abbazabbas for Christmas, for crying out loud, because we were talking about classic candies he couldn’t seem to find any more.

We still can’t believe he’s gone.  God needs to stop stocking his Pearly Office with my coworkers!

In a way, I took comfort in the fact that the three deaths weren’t something of a horrific nature.  Dying in your sleep is a death more people wish for and only some get to have.  That, or die doing something you love with my coworker did.

And again, if it’s your time to go, it’s your time to go.  Brandon’s coworker’s time was up too soon. Despite his health regimen, when his God wanted him home, there he went.

It could be any of us. Any moment.  Poof, we’re dead.  Just another reminder to get the most out of your life everyday and let your loved ones know how you feel.

A few weeks ago I was on the phone with my dad when we started talking about a living will.  He went to a friend’s funeral service recently and was inspired.  She was a Catholic and a doctor so she donated her body to the university hospital and held a memorial service.  Guests were asked to NOT wear black, which thrown off a lot of guests, and the service was more of a party than a sad occasion.  Now dad wants to donate his body too and he didn’t want the traditional Buddhist service of days of wake and praying.

In Thai cultures, we don’t talk about death.  Our superstitious nature considers it a jinx.  But my dad is too practical (and too much of a scientist) for that and so am I.  So I asked him to create us a living will since my brothers wouldn’t know what to do with him, and I’m too far away to do anything in time.  If there’s a directive, at least SOMEONE knows what to do until I get there.  As for me, I already had mine plotted out and on the internet.

There was a somber moment there in our conversation that we both realized we might not be able to see each other again if either one of us just drop dead right now.

And that was also sobering.

“Your brothers are going throw my dead body in the trash, I know for sure,” my dad said, being all dramatic again.

“Nah, they wouldn’t,” I assured him.  “First of all, Pueng the Maid will not let them.  And secondly, it’d take a while for Ake to order an eco-friendly Burberry trash can to put your body in.  I’ll be there before his order gets in so I’ll make sure your body gets donated the way you want. Okay?”

That got a laugh out of my dad on that one.  And at least I have an idea of what he wants to do when time comes, and he knows what to do with me.

Life seriously is too short to not live it. And no amount of superstition should stop you from planning for your death.

I think I’ve gotten enough perspective for a while.

1 Comment

  1. Jitti Chaithiraphant   •  

    Life is indeed very short. I just spoke to a friend today and wonder why human being have to be ill. Why can’t we just be healthy for the entire life. Once we turn 100, switch off and die.

    But that’s impossible… After seeing my girl cousin beat 5% chance to survive last year and met Grant Achatz who survived tongue cancer and drove his restaurant to 3 Michelin star level. I come to appreciate life a lot more.

    Like my late grandpa said, don’t make your Birthday special one. Make your everyday life as happiest as your BD.

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