Jay died yesterday. Jay was my age. Married. Had a five-year-old step son.
I worked with Jay at my previous job.
I never knew him that well. Most of our conversation was from the hellos we'd exchange when we'd pass each other in the halls.
But when a former co-worker forwarded me the email yesterday announcing his death, I was stunned.
Jay was young after all and in good health. One day he was fine. The next day he was dead. (The rumor is that he died from brain aneurism but no one really seems to know of this writing what killed him.)
Sudden, unexpected deaths like this always start me thinking about how I'm living my life. Because my life could be over tomorrow too. Or I could live for fifty years. Either way, it was time for one of those semi-annual checks to evaluate how I'm doing.
So yesterday, on the commute home, I thought a lot about my relationship with Marathon Girl. I can honestly say if I was to die tomorrow, I wouldn't have any regrets about our marriage. We spend all of our free time together. We support each other in our interests whether it be running marathons or writing books. We've taken trips together to see friends, family, and baseball games. We have two wonderful sons. In the three short years we've been married, we've done everything we wanted to accomplish in the first three years together.
I can't say that about my first marriage.
As good as my relationship was with my first wife, I took both her and our marriage for granted. I look back on those brief 35 months and wish I could have done some things differently like not spend more time together, taken that trip to San Diego my first wife always dreamed about, or been a comfort for her instead of indifferent as the insanity slowly enveloped her mind during the last few months of her life.
But I've learned from my mistakes. I've learned how short and fragile life is. And how important it is to live life so when our time does come, we have no regrets about our thoughts, actions, and relationships.
I hope Jay died with no regrets. I hope he can look back at his life and see a life well lived. And I hope that I can continue on the course I'm on so when my life is over -- whether that be tomorrow or in 60 years -- I can look back and not have regrets about the way I lived my life.
I hope that living a life without regrets is something we'll all be able to do.