One had a long battle to survive - almost 20 years. The other's battle was over in a matter of days. News that two women around my age died in the last week has hit me hard. It's not that I knew them well that causes the hurt. It's the reality check that women my age die from things like cancer and stroke. It heightens my awareness that this could even happen to me. It reminds me of each person's human vulnerability - that good people can die young. It saddens me that those women's children are left motherless. Even though their children are mostly young adults, and not totally dependent like younger children, it's still a horrible thought that they don't have their mother alive anymore. It gets me thinking what that would be like for my children.
The uncertainty the future brings can paralyse us or can harness an energy that enables great things to happen. It can lead to a re-prioritising of what's happening. It can ensure that harsh words are left unsaid and more useful and less hurtful ways to deal with conflict are found. It can help us appreciate the little things in life that so often can go unnoticed let alone appreciated.
As I think about these women, I reflect on their life stories, noting that they are not too different to mine - juggling family, work and life interests. I wonder how I can live my life so that I have learnt something from their early deaths. What small changes can I now make that honors their lives?