Two days ago I wrote about a friend who had been diagnosed with cancer. A week and a half ago he told me about it over coffee and indicated he had up to eleven months to live. Yesterday afternoon he died! It was exactly 12 days from the day he told me!

As friends, how do we handle this kind of situation? How does the family handle such a devastatingly rapid decline in the health of their loved one, then followed by death? If it is a shock to us, what is it to them? I realize that this is not an unusual occurrence but one is forced to face it when it hits you personally.

Some of the comments made from what was written previously show just how much this kind of thing affects us. Many still clearly remember the awful feelings which surrounded their own experience of losing a spouse or family member in this way. There are no easy answers and it can seem to be trite to say that “Time heals” even if we know it usually does.

So what do we do? Knowing that the ratio of dying is, and always has been, 100 out of 100 we all have to face our own mortality and that of our family members, however hard that may be. Our age is no guarantee that we have a certain time left. My friend was four years younger than me which adds a stark reality to it.

One comment made in response to the earlier piece was that we need to live everyday as though it is our last but the writer also said, “How many of us do that?” In practicality I think it is difficult to do that, but we know what is meant by it. It is simply a reminder that we only have a certain number of days and we need to make the most of them. We don’t need sermons to tell us what we should do but just encouragement to make a difference while we have the time.

So deliberately determine to make a difference today. Do something for someone else. Tell them how much you appreciate them. Tell them that you love them. By doing it for them you will be blessed yourself!