On Saturday 1st March 2014 at 9.0am my husband and I took some time to go and sit quietly together to pay our respects to Judy Martin who had passed away suddenly, aged only 49, a month earlier.

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Thoughts on life following the sudden death of a friend

Thoughts following the death of a friendOn Saturday 1st March 2014 at 9.0am my husband and I took some time to go and sit quietly together to pay our respects to Judy Martin (News 12 Anchor, Emmy award-winning jounalist and Work Life Balance Consultant) who had passed away suddenly, aged only 49, a month earlier.

We had chosen that day and time as it was at exactly that time that a memorial service was being held in New York.

We weren’t able to get to New York for the memorial so we decided to pay our respects by creating quiet time to reflect on our memories of Judy, celebrate her life and be grateful she touched our lives.

I had known Judy for a few years. We shared the same passion around the subject of the impact that work has on life.

As we sat there, I reflected on the conversations we shared, the laughs we had and the work we did together. Precious memories I will always hold dear.

As my husband and I chatted, a thought came back to me that had hit me like a tonne of bricks three years previously when my husband had been involved in a serious car crash (You can read the full story about that in Lessons from a wake up call). 

It was this:

It is easy to take your plans for life for granted and think you have plenty of time to make them happen. But the reality is that you don’t know when something will suddenly happen that will rob you of the opportunity to have the life you want with the people you want.

This is true for every single one of us. Yet often the way we live our lives doesn’t reflect this reality. More often than not we live as if the years ahead are a sure thing.

This has me wondering about many things. Things like:

  • I wonder how people’s lives would be different if they stopped thinking they have years ahead of them.
  • I wonder what different choices they would make.
  • I wonder how they might treat the people that are most important to them differently if they knew they would lose them tomorrow.
  • I wonder what they would make more time for instead of settling for living in a permanent state of being over busy.

As these thoughts ran through my head, it raised some important questions we could all benefit from asking ourselves:

  • What memories do you want to create with the most important people in your life?
  • What difference do you want to make in their lives?
  • What legacy do you want to leave behind through your life, work and relationships?
  • What do you want to do, experience or change but have been putting off because you are so busy?

None of us know what is around the corner.

So we must live, love and make a difference – now, in the present. Because there is no guarantee that we can do it any other time.

Start living the life you want – now. Start creating more great memories with the people you love – now. Start making a positive difference to the people around you – now. Start doing work that matters and you love – now. Live the legacy you want to leave in your life, work and relationships – now.

Now is all we really have. Live, love and work accordingly.

This post is dedicated to Judy Martin, in honour of the positive impact she had on so many people through her life and work.She made a difference.

Judy Martin

Judy Martin 1965 – 2014

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  • Anne Day

    One of the “benefits” of being a cancer survivor, is that you don’t take life for granted and you make the most of every day. You also surround yourself with people you love, and eliminate negative folks as they drain your energy

  • Hi Anne, love your points. So important to be careful of who we are allowing into our physical and mental space and being aware of the impact they have.

  • amanda_alexander

    so eloquently put Ali. Thank you!

  • Thank you Amanda. Glad you liked it.

  • Jeremy Brown

    Agree… Live in the moment and make good memories for yourself and others.

  • Totally with you Jeremy. Memories are a part of the legacy we leave behind.

  • malcolmwot

    Great advice Ali, sometimes it takes a sad event to snap us into reality and get on with it!

  • I think if a sad event does that then something good and positive comes out of it. What I always find quite sad is seeing people who have had a wake up call or a tragic event yet carry on with the same old same old. Such lost possibility and opportunity.

  • Shari Yantes

    Beautiful Judy. I lost my biological dad when he was only 51, my step father at 65 and a sister at 40….That’s when I decided I would follow my dreams rather than wait until retirement or until the “time was right”. . .Live life now!

  • Shari, so sorry for your losses. But how wonderful that out of it came a drive to live your life full on and follow your dreams.

  • Great advice! Living it is harder than it should be, but we have to stay aware.

  • Ali Davies

    Barbara, yes indeed. For me, orientating life around values and simplicity helps to keep me anchored in what is most important.

  • Great advie Ali! Thanks for sharing, I’m sorry about your friend!

  • Ali Davies

    Thanks Jennifer.

  • Blessings to you and your friend. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and good advice.

  • Ali Davies

    Thank you Carol. Glad you found it useful.

  • Four years ago, Christmas Day, my darling James went out for a run and died of a heart problem we didn’t know he had. As a girlfriend of mine said, you and James had it all: the romance, the love. None of us had ever seen a couple like you.

    I can honestly say we lived every day to the fullest with one another. We told one another, multiple times a day, how much we loved, valued and appreciated one another. Part II of your blog post should be what do you do when you’ve done all of that and the people you have loved so well are ripped from your life? It’s a double edged sword: You’re grateful you lived each moment, but the real question then becomes, how do you continue to live without them?
    Brenda Coffee

  • Ali Davies

    So sorry for the loss of your beloved James. I have not lost my partner but have lost other people wheo where an important part of my life. Some of them far too young. For me, I feel the best way to honour them losing their life too soon is to ensure I am living my own fully.

  • carla birnberg

    When I lost a dear friend only two months after a cancer diagnosis it shifted my entire life perspective. I have finally begun to live with a sense of urgency

  • So sorry to hear about the loss of your friend Carla. Agree it gives a total perspective shift. And living with a sense of urgency is a fabulous way to honour your friend.

  • Beautiful post.

  • Thank you Jenny. I am delighted you liked it.

  • 1010 Park Place

    I’ve learned this lesson several times: Breast cancer and the unexpected death of my husband on Christmas Day. Both of those have caused me to react with either a sense of urgency or a laid back, devil may care attitude. Brenda

  • rcknrllmom

    I lost my dad when I was 4, which changed my perspective on life always forward from that point. Myself, as a cancer survivor, I decided to live my life with joy, do things I wanted to, make a difference. In the last year, I have lost 6 people, including my brother unexpectedly, which devastated me and a dear friend recently to cancer. It was hard to find the joy again, but slowly I am working on it. What better way to honor those you love and have lost than to live an authentic life, to be happy, to make a difference?!

  • So sorry for all your losses. But how wonderful and inspiring that you are focussed on finding joy again. My very best wishes to you.

  • Wow Brenda, those are very tough things to navigate and deal with. I love your attitude as a response to those things.

  • Elin Stebbins Waldal

    Lovely post. I really do strive to lead each day with intention, to love, to connect…I believe that’s why we are here. Grief has a way of reminding us that our days are precious. It’s important for us to live and be present in a way that ensures we won’t miss everyday life events. After all, it’s truly the culmination of our ordinary moments that make our life extraordinary and precious to us.

  • Beautifully said Elin. Thanks for sharing your perspectivie.