Finding My Life Path In His Death

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain

…so what have you done?

Today is the birthday of my deceased brother. He died in 1977, his life cut short by “unknown, natural causes.” He was 22. Autopsy results showed a “strong heart, clean lungs, no blood clots, no aneurysms, no drugs, no alcohol,” in short, no reason. He simply died in his sleep.

We were best friends, Tom and I. We were two years and two days apart in our births, and so we shared our birthday each year. It was wonderful. As children, we had someone to play with, and to confide in when we grew older. But we didn’t grow much older together. And truthfully, I still miss him on “our” birthday. And I can’t help but wonder who he would be, had he lived more than those two short decades. What would he have done with his life?

Tom’s death was the beginning of my search for spiritual sense. Afterall, without a just cause for his death, how could I possibly believe in God, or Source, or in any label one chooses to adhere to a version of Higher Power. And if there indeed was a God, how and why would he/she take my brother for “no reason”?

All these years later, I have such perfect sight to see what went before. It is my gift of his death, to have found my path to life. Without the brutal realization of mortality, it is doubtful I would have ever begun that journey inward, to that place inside that is so decidedly beyond “the safe harbor.” And so I take only a moment to share my appreciation for the greatest gift that Tom left me: The strength to “catch the trade winds,” and to travel deep inside, and to unquestionably question everything. That’s where the answers lie.

“Explore. Dream. Discover.” Seems like a perfect mantra for life.

Blessings in the Mire

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