I think the hardest thing about death is that it is so final; when your life is over, it’s over. You don’t get a last goodbye, or one last phone call. All you get are questions — you get to wonder if you should have said something to them, or remind them of how much you care. You never know what will happen, so ask the people you love how they are, or perhaps ask them for forgiveness. Being only 22, it saddens me to know how much death I have seen thus far in my life, which has led me to the conclusion that it is important to cherish your loved ones, each and every day.

On August 31, a young man I graduated from high school with passed away after a tragic accident. I may not have known him as well as my peers did, but every time I log onto social media, I am reminded that he is no longer here. I am reminded of how many people are hurting and in pure shock from his death. My hometown has been in mourning for a little over two weeks now and as a community we are all wondering how someone so special could have been taken so soon. He was only 21.

I met a girl my sophomore year of college who lost her father two years prior. He was an NYPD officer, killed on duty. She never got her goodbye; she didn’t get to remind him she loved him. Neither did her three other sisters, because who knew that terrible act would happen?
Just this past summer, a young man I also graduated from high school with suddenly lost his father. It was shocking news for my hometown as we came together to be there for him and his family during their loss. His father was a known fisherman, a kindhearted man who is now survived by his three kids.

Being in my senior year, with the real world right around the corner, I have begun to question my relationships and decisions with my peers and the people around me. It makes me question if the petty drama that I have been involved in in the past was really worth it, or worth permanently damaging friendships. It makes me wonder if fighting with my parents has ever had a positive outcome, or if the three months that my long-distance best friend and I went without talking was worth it. What I am now faced with is realizing that no argument, no fight, no disagreement is worth staying upset about, because quite honestly, life is short, and no one knows what tomorrow will bring.
Think of your parents, siblings, best friends, cousins, aunts and uncles. I am sure there were a few times when perhaps you didn’t see eye-to-eye with them, or maybe more time than you wanted passed without speaking to each other. If something happened to them tomorrow, would you regret not picking up the phone? Would you regret not moving past the roadblock in your relationship to be civil with them again? Life is unbelievably unpredictable, and as we’ve all heard, life isn’t fair. I think it’s sad that we have to lose people in our lives to realize that we should start to appreciate the ones we have. Death is final, and you don’t want to regret not reminding people what they mean to you. Enjoy the people in your life, invest in forgiveness and understand that we don’t choose when our last day is — it really could be any day, at any moment. Stop wasting precious time and start taking advantage of right now.

Samantha Webb is a senior majoring in graphic design.