It’s been a sad week in our community of expats in Costa Rica. Two couples, both married late in life…two sudden deaths…two wives left alone. The first happened last week, at their home, just outside of San Ramón. He told his wife that he had a bad headache, sat down on the sofa, and died. The second happened just this morning, in his home in San Isidro de General. He went to sleep last night and never woke up. Each instance was made even more shocking as it happened twice in our circle of acquaintances in such a short period of time.
While there are no words that can adequately express our sadness for the women left behind, to me, it’s also a wake-up call. It’s a reminder that, despite our full lives here in paradise, life itself is never promised for more than the present moment. It makes me want to run to Paul, hold him, and tell him I love him, again, and again, and again. It makes me want to fully live each day. Smell every flower, watch every sunrise and every sunset, tell each of my friends how much they mean to me.
And it’s scary, that the lives we love can be so abruptly changed and that the people we love can be taken from us so suddenly. What if it happens to me, to us? How do you find the courage to wake up every morning and put one foot in front of the other without your love, your partner, your soul-mate? But the reality is that it will happen, one day, to all of us.
There is nothing I can do to prevent this future sadness, or to ameliorate this current sadness of these two women. That’s the price of truly loving another person. But I can do something: Think loving thoughts. Banish the petty resentments, minor irritations, and hurt feelings that surface at times. Be grateful for the simple pleasures of sharing a meal, laughing at silly things (even the jokes you’ve heard a million times), tangling your feet up together in bed at night, and the privilege of comforting each other during the sad times. Pursue joy and beauty and life. And more than anything, appreciate every moment you have together with those you love.
Lastly, don’t wait to do the things you really want to do, especially if you are older. When Paul and I were deciding to move to Costa Rica, several friends experienced heart attacks and had by-pass surgery, all within a short period of time. This was, at the time, a reminder for us of the uncertainty of life. And it strengthened our determination to make the move to Costa Rica that we had dreamed of. If you have dreams, whether it’s to move overseas or something else, take a chance. Live your life, now, as fully and as lovingly as you can, because none of us are promised tomorrow.
- How do you define happiness?
- What’s Past is Past: Choosing Happiness in Costa Rica
- Enjoying the Life