Tomorrow's life is too late. Live today.
[Posted to Random Bytes on January 31, 2003 11:31 PM| Links to this post ]

As I mentioned earlier, today was Chuck's last day on the farm. Predictably, there was a send-off for him at the local pub. I couldn't make it because of plans that I had made with my little brother Gavin and his girlfriend Amber. In a few days they are heading out on a one year "world-tour" and tonight was the last chance that we'd have to spend some time together until they returned early next year.

At some point during the evening I realized how little time I've spent with Gavin over the past few years. Always something else on the go. I was also pretty disappointed knowing that it would be another year before I could take some steps to change this. The realization was very disappointing because even though I had figured out that there was a problem there wasn't anything I could do about it. I had to take some comfort in the knowledge that at least he would be back next year and I could make the extra effort to spend more time with him at that point.

Somewhere around 9:30pm, Gavin asked the three of us whether or not we thought that the flickering lights he noticed in an apartment across the way looked like a house fire or not. We live in a smaller apartment building, 12 stories on the east side of the building that faces two larger buildings a few hundred yards away. The unit in question was about 20 stories up and was definitely in flames. We made a quick call to 911 and tried to provide the dispatcher with directions to the numberless apartment in the numberless building on the unknown street. Thankfully, the operator was familiar with the area and was able to pin down the location within seconds.

The fire deparment showed up pretty quickly, even though it felt like it took them forever to get there. Watching the to and fro from our balcony Gavin remarked how brutal it would be for that family or person that lived there to come home and find their home in ruins. My only thought was that we could only hope that those people were fortunate enough to come home and find their place in ruins rather than being at home at that time and having to live through the ordeal - or worse.

As I write this, the evening news informs me that the blaze had indeed claimed a victim. Its strange how quickly denial turns into guilt. Had we noticed the fire early enough that we could have sprinted over there and perhaps pulled this person out of their apartment? Its pretty unlikely given the distance and uncertainty involved, but it was the first thing that crossed my mind when the newscaster related the story.

The second thing that crossed my mind was how terrible it was that the person that had died in the fire had just run out of chances. This was someone who didn't get to say goodbye to a loved one, someone who wouldn't get another chance to make amends on something that was bothering them and someone who wouldn't be able to stop and marvel at a small wonder that they drove by everyday on the way to work, but had always ignored.

All of this made me appreciate the time that we spent together just a little bit more. It also makes me look forward to my second chance when the two of them get back to Canada next spring.

"Tomorrow's life is too late. Live today."
- Marcus Valerius Martialis (40 AD - 103 AD), Epigrams

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