This week, I’ve become hyper-aware of how fast time passes. For a number of reasons… On the bright side, I just celebrated a relationship anniversary this week. On a darker note, in recent months, weeks and days I’ve heard news of three friends or acquaintances passing; all of them by their own hand.

I can understand the feeling of wanting to say to this world: “I quit.” I have certainly been there for lengthy periods of time myself. But when you decide that suicide is not an option–what do you do? In my case, I decided to start fixing whatever was making me feel the way I was feeling. And yes, I’m still on that road. But I’m happy to say that these days quitting is the furthest thing from my mind.

Perhaps for that very reason, it has been extremely hard for me to hear of my friends who decided otherwise. Their passing reminds me of that dark place I once inhabited, and fought so hard to leave. For some strange reason I feel guilt for leaving them behind, even though in my heart of hearts I know I am not, nor ever was, responsible for anyone else’s life but my own.

Today, I find life compelling, engaging, heartening, spectacular. Yes, there are moments, even days of devastation, but my overall outlook these days is quite different from what it was a few years ago. Tonight, I am thinking of my friends who possibly never got to see the beauty of this world quite like I see it now. In all honesty, I grieve for that, more than I even grieve their passing. 

Like Mark Twain said:

“I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.”