At nine years old my main daily concerns were getting to soccer practice on time and finishing my school work. Like any other child of that age, I lived in the protective shadow of my parents. They did the best they could to filter out any of the harmful, cruel realities of the world we lived in. For the most part they were very successful and I went on living a blissfully naive life. This all changed, one day when I was shown just how inexplicable life can be.
I returned from school to find my mother slumped down on our living room coach sobbing. Between gasps of air, she explained to me what had happened. Tyler Tredly, a family friend who was a few years older than I, had suddenly collapsed on a skiing trip in Colorado. He was taken to the hospital and died later that night from a brain aneurism. I didn’t know how to react. No one I knew had ever died and this was all so unexpected. It was hard to imagine such a healthy, exuberant young boy suddenly collapsing on a family vacation. I just could not understand why God would take someone with so much life yet to be lived.
I still think about Tyler quite often, though we had never been especially close, his death had a huge impact on my life. I started to think about all the things I still wanted to do in my life, how I wasn’t ready to die. Before his death I had never really thought about dying. I had always viewed myself like most children do, indestructible; but after his untimely passing I was afraid to do pretty much everything. I became very pessimistic, thinking that everything I did would kill me. How did I know I didn’t have a blood vessel in my head just waiting for the right opportunity to pop?
With Tyler’s passing I came to realize just how abruptly life can change. I saw that no one was indestructible, everyday you walk outside you are risking your life. However, after all this I came to the conclusion that life isn’t worth living without these risks. I would rather die doing something that makes me happy than end up an old woman with a thick pile of regrets. Sure I could die on a rollercoaster, but I could also have a sudden heart attack while sitting on my couch avoiding life, so I’ll take my chances with the ride.
It is important to do the most you can with every second of every day. Life is too short and fragile to waste being afraid to truly live. I believe that living makes death a lot less intimidating.
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