It’s too painful to even imagine…losing a child. And yet that is exactly why, dating back to Epictetus, the Stoics said we should. Because as hard as that is to do, it’s better than the all too easy (and all too common) habit of taking your kids and your lives for granted.
At the end of Death Be Not Proud, the moving memoir by John Gunther about his son’s short life, Gunther’s wife, France Gunther writes, “Johnny lay dying of a brain tumor for fifteen months. He was in his seventeenth year. I never kissed him goodnight without wondering whether I should see him alive in the morning. I greeted him each morning as though he were newly born to me, a re-gift of God. Each day he lived was a blessed day of grace.”
Hopefully, thankfully, most of us will not have to go through what that family did. But we can and we must try to practice what they practice. Because you never know. Because wouldn’t it be better to see each day this way, that each day with them is a gift, a lucky break, a midnight reprieve as opposed to a chore? Something you need to take for granted?
Act tonight as if it was your last time together. Soak it in. Appreciate it. Be everything you need. And then in the morning, arise and be surprised, grateful, blessed by the grace of another try. Then live accordingly. Because you never know.