Two days ago, a cousin of mine died of a heart attack. He was a few years younger than I and only the second cousin of my generation to pass away. My family tends to have a long lifeline. (My great-grandmother lived to be 98.)
As kids, I remember sharing summer days with him on my aunt’s lawn, eating ice cream and bragging about what we wanted to be when we grew up. He wanted to be an astronaut and a police officer. I argued that he had to pick one or the other because he couldn’t be both. (I know, opinionated and bossy.)
I, of course, wanted to be a writer. Even at eight years old, I had a one track mind. I knew I wanted to tell stories. Decades later, I followed my dream. I am a writer. Becoming a romance author is following close behind.
But my heart is heavy.
Although our lives took different paths I often thought about my cousin. I wondered if he’d chased the dream, he shared with me so many years ago. I’d wondered if he’d nurtured his passion.
About four years ago, we connected and chatted on the phone. He’d move from New Jersey to Tennessee and wasn’t in the best of health. Much to my dismay, I learned that he had not fulfilled his dream. That saddened me. I wanted to reach through the phone and smack him. He had so much potential, which had diminished to nothing.
I couldn’t imagine that I wanted my dream more than he did his. Going to the moon was all he talked about. Perhaps life and situations got in his way. Maybe circumstances snatched away his passion, and he was helpless to stop them.
Like many of us, death always makes me take stock in life–to reassess, to recalibrate. It sounds cliché, but life is terribly short. And the older you become, the more compressed it seems to be.
But my goal in life is not to dwell on getting older. It’s to focus on getting things done while I’m here. My goal is to do exactly what the quote in the picture suggests, “go to the grave skidding sideways.”
My cousin’s death again reaffirms my belief about life. I should recognize its potential and act on it.
Although heaven is not where I’d like my cousin to be right now, I’m sure he’s walking on the moon and directing traffic. 🙂
Thursday’s Toss—Live your dream. Enjoy the ride. Skid in sideways.