It is with deep sorrow and sadness that I write this letter. I hope it gets to you before the year becomes old. How are you? And how is the New Year treating you? Is all well?
There are two main things I want to achieve with this letter. One is to talk to you about the New Year, and the other is to announce to you that yesterday, we lost our dear friend, Victor.
Victor died in the early hours of today, the 1st of January around 3:00 AM. Am sad (and I know you are too) but am not broken. Why? Because I know Victor’s eternity is settled and that he will live forever and that we will see again when the time comes.
However, before he gave up the ghost yesterday, Victor wrote something’s down; and a part of what he wrote was addressed to both of us.
When I sat beside him on his deathbed weeping, he took up his pen and wrote (we both know he lost his power of speech some weeks ago):
“Am not happy am leaving you here, friend, but do you know that all my life have been preparing for this hour, this moment? (I gasped and he went on).Yes, friend. All my life, I have been preparing for death, the inevitable one.
“Look friend, I would have loved to live the New Year with you, and all our other friends in church, school, and with my family; but I cannot. I think am going to die. In fact, I know it; it’s obvious. It saddens my heart but does not sorrow it. All my life, have been preparing for death. We will see again, friend. And make sure you too prepare for the inevitable one so that all in all, when you die, you will live on here and there, forever...”
You know, all my life have always been afraid of death. All my life have always dreaded that moment when I will look into the eyes of my friends and family, and I will see them for (probably) the last time. The thought of that single future moment had always been disturbing me. Whenever I think of how people die, and how many people we have lost in the recent years, I shiver. But as I read Victor’s letter yesterday, the fear of death vanished – completely!
He wrote something about living “here” and “there” after death. I was wondering, how can one live here after death? Would not one have gone there? And then it struck me – Works! Impact! Influence! Life! That is it! That is the only way one can live there after one is dead. That is the only way death will be “but crossing of the world, as friends do the seas.”
Friend, am no longer afraid of death, though am still afraid of dying. And so when I think of our late friend’s last words, I ask myself, “What if I die today? Will I live on here and there? What have I done that will live on even when am dead? What (that’s of I will be remembered at all) will I be remembered for? Will my tomb attract flowers or bird droppings? Will people shed tears when my body is being returned to where it came from or will they keep a straight, neutral face? Will I be washed away in the memory of man in a flash or will I last a long time to come? What works of mine will live on forever? Who have I influenced, impacted, changed? What cause have I supported, stood for, fought for? How have I helped the human race? How have I used my talents (if I used them at all) to improve lives? Have I been generous enough? Have I shared my time, money or other resources? Have I stood for what I believed in even in the face of danger and death or have I compromised my beliefs? Have I helped the poor, strengthen the old (with my words and deeds), and taught the young? Have I done for others as I would want them to do for me? Will I leave this earth and go home with a sack full of rewards or sack full of unused and wasted talents? What will I be remembered for?
I have thought of all these, buddy, and I have decided to make the best use of 2016 and all the many more years to come. Have decided to live each minute of my life, preparing for death. I want you to also think about this. Give your siblings, parents and friends this letter to read. I want you too to resolve to do something this year that will leave a mark, a good one, a positive one.
Our friend died yesterday, but he lives on forever, because his works and words shall never be forgotten. Make sure your friends see this, buddy. Hope to hear from you soon. Happy New Year.
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