There is a red postcard with yellow-white lettering on the refrigerator in my kitchen that reads, “Keep calm and carry on.” It sits right at eye level—my eve level, that is. Its placement was intentional on my part to serve as a daily reminder to breathe in and out and try to take in deeper, more cleansing inhalations from time to time. It was meant as a reminder to keep my focus on the things in life that matter and to not engage with the negative, soul-sucking energy that seems to hover over the eastern side of Massachusetts where I currently reside.
Despite it’s color and placement, I rarely notice this postcard. I go days without paying it any mind. Then for some reason unbeknownst to me, I will see it and stop what I am doing for a few brief seconds and remember why I placed it there in the first place.
My cousin passed away without warning this week. I hadn’t seen him for a number of years. Even without his immediate presence in my life, I suppose I took comfort in knowing he was out there living his life somewhere while I lived mine. My mom would fill me in on family gossip and on goings, who was angry with who, what the drama of the day happened to be.
We seem to become lulled into a false sense of security with the passage of time. With family and friends on the periphery of our existence, we draw the curtains close around mortality. When a person who is dear to us suddenly disappears, we can on longer evade the realness that we can expire at any moment, that there need be no warning.
Death can leap forth and take any one of us at any moment.
So wouldn’t this seem to be as good a reason as any to celebrate life and to appreciate the living, set aside petty squabbles, and let go of the bullshit?
If only it could be this way.
If only this relinquishing of the little things that just don’t matter could endure.