I want to talk about something that is very special to me. Something that has affected my life and something that affects everyone.
I want to talk about dealing with death.
Out of all of the things that we face on our journey, death is one of the most troubling aspects of life that we face. Death is something that many of us fear and run away from deep down.
If anything is certain on the day that we come into the world, it is that we are going to die. One of the most impactful things in our lives is that we embrace death. Rather than shunning death, we should allow it to empower us to live life boldly.
Just last week we celebrated the five year anniversary of my brother Jesse's death. He was gun downed by two gunmen in broad daylight. It was something that I never thought would happen. No matter how much we see violence on TV and hear about accidents, we all assume we will live a long time and spend a life getting old with those we care about. That is what I assumed.
There is not a year that goes by when it gets easier. You just learn how to deal with it. You learn how to make it a part of your life and cope with it. Dealing with death is something that we have to incorporate more into our personal develop. Because the sooner that we realize that if we embrace this reality that at some point our hearts will stop beating, we will live our lives and do better and fight more and live up to the greatness that all of us possess.
Just from last week, there was an innumerable amount of stories I heard about people’s loved ones dying for many different reasons. In the midst of all of this pain and chaos that death brings to us and is a reality to people daily, we have to find a way to remind ourselves that we are not guaranteed a long life.
Death is a reality. It is not something that we should shun. Most of us act as if we know for a fact that we will wake up alive tomorrow. But, there is data that shows us that we are more likely to die from a car accident than to achieve great wealth. We still waste time though and live angrily about foolish things and waste time being afraid and concerned about other’s opinions. We will waste time by letting criticism dictate how we lives our lives.
When I walked in and saw Jessie, my brother, lying in the hospital bed, the first thing that came into my mind was, “I cannot remember the last time I hugged him and told him I loved him.” That is the stuff we take for granted. That is the stuff that feeds into our lives. It was a powerful lesson to me that reminded me not to dare take for granted anyone in my life because I do not know how long I have with them.
The best thing we can do is to accept the reality that at any moment death might come and to remind ourselves daily of this. And so importantly, the best way to honor someone who has died is by the way we live our lives.
We buy t-shirts about remembering people who have died and write heartfelt things on social media, but over days and weeks and months, we fall back into our normal routines. There is not this magic moment that when we lose someone, we snap into a perfect person and life.
No, you still have to fight and push and keep reminding yourself that life is a gift. That’s how I can honor Jessie. That is how you can honor the people that you have lost that you love. That is how you can honor the people around the world who live in a reality of death that most of us do not know. Children in war-torn countries. People here in the US who have a better chance of dying than from graduating from high school.
The way we honor people who have died is to allow their name to live on in our actions. Allowing yourself to in their honor be victorious, give more, and fight for a life of greatness.
When you die, people will not talk about your title or what you have in the bank. They will talk about what you gave. How your life impacted their life.
Accept death. Embrace death. Every day you are living on death’s ground. That should be the most motivational thing for you. Time slows down for no one. Don’t waste your precious time.
You have one life to live. In honor of all the people that you love and lost. In honor of Jessie, my brother, who was struck down at age 23 and left behind three beautiful children, in honor of all of these stories of lives, remember them by how you live, give, and fight. Let their names live on through the ages because you were determined by making yourself great, your name, great, making your community great, and by giving more than you took from the world.
Jessie B. Joyner
As always, keep hustling hard, and no matter what you face, always keep fighting forward.
David L. Joyner and the Joyner Media & Strategies Team