If I Died Today

Written By: Derek Vines

December 28, 2016

Good friends. I’m quite fortunate to have some. If you asked my friends to describe me, I hope they would say that I’m passionate, hardworking, and caring. Or maybe they would say I’m temperamental, brutally honest, a try-hard, and intense. An incident occurred last year, however, that made me reflect on how I’m living my life and how I will hopefully be remembered one day.

It was September 11th, 2014. I had just returned from water polo practice when I received a phone call from a friend. This friend asked nervously whether or not I had seen my best friend after school had ended. I informed her that I had not seen him and he wasn’t at practice. A couple minutes later I received a call from my missing friend’s mother. She believed that he was in trouble and that I needed to call my bishop, run over to his Father’s house, and, if necessary, break down the door to help. Frantically, I rushed to my destination confused, stressed, and terrified. When I arrived, there were fire trucks outside and people sobbing. I immediately realized what had happened and I began to cry as well. My best friend had just committed suicide.

The following days were a roller coaster of emotions, moments of silence, and many emotional breakdowns. But in this dark moment of sorrow came moments of light. Moments spent at local parks, church, and his funeral where fond memories were shared. I soon realized how much my dear friend was loved and missed. As people recalled his cowboy boot fetish, humor, and impeccable social abilities, I wondered how and what I would be remembered for if I were to die.

These moments of self-reflection led me to a poem that resides in a special place in my heart. It is called “The Dash” by Linda Ellis. In the poem, she talks about how a friend is giving a eulogy and talking about the dash mark in between the year of birth and death. Ellis states that the “…dash represents all the time that they spent alive on earth. And now only those who loved them know what that little line is worth. For it matters not, how much we own, the cars…the house…the cash. What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash…”
So I slowed down and wondered – Imagine if I died today. Who would care? Who would show up to my funeral? Who would cry? Who would miss me? What would I be remembered for? Does it matter what I was remembered for?

Since my friend’s death, I have asked myself, “Is there anything I want to do and change?” I decided that I barely knew those around me and needed to be more social. I am proud to report that I am making progress in this goal of mine, because I am naturally very reserved.
Though I don’t rock cowboy boots, maybe they would remember me for the tan shoes I always wear. Or that I put a lot of effort into athletics and my academics. Most importantly, maybe they’ll remember me for the person I am now and strive to be. I still have a lot to improve upon. But it is my wish that when I die that many will look happily and with fond memories on my dash.

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