I remember how I felt when Michael Jackson died on June 25, 2009. It wasn’t much different when Whitney Houston left this earth on February 11, 2012. Even though I am just a fan of theirs and grew up with their music like so many of us, it hurt my heart to find out not only that they each died at a relatively young age, but also the circumstances of their deaths. On the day after MJ’s passing, I reached out to many friends I haven’t heard from in years. And one might think that I would do the same with Whitney’s death– start to reach out to people who I haven’t talked to in a while and just reconnect. I often go through my phone and call folks during New Years week, but I was caught up in my book release to-do list and didn’t get to everyone.
For some reason, although it crossed my mind to call my friend Chris, who was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in June 2011–or hit him up on Facebook– I didn’t. But oh how I wish I did.
You see, about 2 1/2 weeks after Whitney died, so did Chris. Today would have been his 31st birthday.
He passed on his best friend’s (my brother’s) birthday.
Whenever I saw or talked to him, he was full of life. He had aspirations, loved his beautiful little girl, and was a joy to be around. But last Fall, he went overseas for experiential surgery and returned around the holidays. I saw Facebook updates periodically from him and our family, and he was even featured on the local news. But I didn’t want to bother Chris. He was taking things easy. His phone was probably already ringing off the hook after he came back to America. I didn’t want to be a bother–another person calling him with concern. After all, he was getting better!
I regret not calling him. It wasn’t because I didn’t care. How do think I felt when I came across his number in my cell phone after his passing? If only I had used it sooner…
Not “Why,” but “What?”
Sometimes I’m tempted to ask God “Why?,” but that is not usually a question that gets answered the way I’d like– if at all. So instead, I changed the question to “What?” I want to know what God is trying to tell me from this and other difficult situations I encounter. What is the lesson He wants me to learn? Is there something I’ve been doing– or not doing– that needs to change? Those are the types of questions in my prayers that get answered.
If there is someone you need to call–whether just to say Hey, I’m thinking of you, I miss you, I love you, or to clear the air–DO IT. Don’t put it off until someone else’s tragedy becomes yours.
Chris, we love and miss you so much!! This one’s for you. I know that you are at peace.