"Final Destination"

You know, we all talk about how important it is to live your life every day to the fullest because life is short and you never know when you’re time is up. We see memes and videos on social media filled with inspiration and advice until we almost become numb with the messaging. And then something happens that rocks your world, even if it affects you indirectly, and this event makes you wonder about God’s will and Fate and you realize nobody knows or understands why tragic things happen and you’re not quite sure what to make of it all. You question our purpose on this earth, why some lives are cut short by car accidents, illnesses, and tragedies you just can’t wrap yourself around.

Recently, there was a tragic accident at a Firestone I have frequented for years and I was devasted to learn of the death of one of their managers whose cell phone number sits in my phone, a call never to be answered again. And I am struggling with this man’s death. As I understand it, Rick was inflating a tire which exploded, tragically killing him and I find myself thinking about him every day, hoping he died instantly without pain, knowing he left behind a wife and children, along with the rest of his family who are undoubtedly shocked, horrified, and grief stricken even as I write this blog.

It breaks my heart knowing his family is suffering and his life was cut short, especially in such a horrific manner, although death in general is terribly sad no matter what age the person passes. But premature deaths are inexplicable and this particular incident reminds me of the “Final Destination” movies, if you’ve ever seen them, where people die in the oddest of ways and no matter what they do to avoid these deaths, eventually the grim reaper gets them. If it’s just stepping off a curb and getting hit by a bus or a billboard comes loose crashing into you from behind. It’s the you never see it coming aspect that’s so startling and frightening to me. It’s also the belief in and the power of Fate, where there is just no avoiding it when your time is up.

I mean, you wake up in the morning, have your coffee, grab a piece of a toast, drive to work, start your day prioritizing your tasks, looking forward to your lunch break, then looking forward to going home to see your family and have dinner. You didn’t wake up that morning thinking you would never return. It was just an ordinary day in your life which turned out to be the last day of your life and you never knew it. No time to prepare for it, or say the things you’ve left unsaid to your loved ones, or take the vacation of your dreams, or buy the boat you were saving for.

My heart also hurts for his coworkers that were with Rick that day, witnessing this tragic event, losing someone they cared about. The trauma they suffered being witness to this tragedy and how they may or may not be coping with it. It all gets to me. When you know someone this happens to, it brings it home, makes it real. Yes, things like this can and do happen.

So, what’s the takeaway? I’m not even sure. All the cliches I suppose become relevant. Live every day as if it’s your last. Personally, I can’t do that. If I thought every day had the possibility of being my last, I would never get out of bed. We need to keep somewhat of a protective wall around us, as if this could never happen to us or we wouldn’t have a functional life or a functioning society (if you can even call our society functioning at this point).

I certainly have no answers. All I can do is express my sorrow and compassion and remember this person in my heart, along with others who have touched my life and are now gone. May they all rest in peace as they have now reached their final destination.