And that decision to buy those shoes that day, like so many other every day rationalisations, was nowhere in their mind as many came to grips with the inescapable situation they were in. Instead we read of text messages of love and gratitude to partners, parents and children. We hear of stories of life-threatening heroism. We see pictures of sadness, trauma, destruction. Those every day dramas that happily rocked their worlds the day before, the weeks before were dwarfed into insignificance when faced with the end.
As we look back on days like today I can’t help but feel foolish and a little ashamed, as they probably would too if they were lucky enough to be onlookers rather than victims. I literally spent 20 minutes deciding where to park today. I spent at least 2 hours this week feeling sorry for myself, and I told my husband off for picking up our two-year-old during a night terror instead of comforting him in his cot. I’m not saying that my feelings and decisions are stupid and wrong, I just wish when the small stuff happens that annoys us, the stuff we heap importance on, or that doesn’t make sense to our way of thinking,that we would see it for what it is: insignificant in the long term.
Instead I wish I knew that if I was about to die I wouldn’t remember that my husband consistently put the whites in with the darks or that he doesn't always put the seat up. What probably would cross my mind would be "I wish I’d said ‘I love you’ more, I wish I’d been kinder and more understanding, I wish I'd spent more time with my kids, and I wish I’d been truer to myself".
Days like today are precious because they remind us of the reality of our mortality, they give us perspective and inspire us to make more of the life we still have as we remember those that weren’t given that chance. We should stare at this disaster, we should soak in the pictures of grief and loss, we should try to fathom the feelings that would compel people to leap to their sure death and we should cry for them and for ourselves, especially if we are not truly living the life we have. In the end, when all is said and done, no one will remember our shoes, including us.
As you watch the horror again, don't look away, stare at their faces and pay them tribute by celebrating the life you've been given today and hopefully tomorrow too.
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