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Death on a Warm Summer Day

Death on a Warm Summer Day

A Fatal Car Accident and Why You Need to Think About Death  

By Josh Beaudoin 

I was sitting in the company office with a fellow manager when a couple of our employees burst through the door and began sputtering incoherently about some sort of car accident with dead people and arms being ripped off. Their faces were white—evidently in shock—a chilling panic in their voices. My coworker rushed out the door with them to where the accident had happened, and I followed in my car.  

The accident was a short distance away from the warehouse I was working at, and as I pulled over to the side of the road, the scene was chaotic. People were walking around in shock; their tears leaving streaks down their dusty faces. Friends gathered in small clusters trying to comfort one another. Others were on the phone crying.  

About 30 feet away on my left, in plain view lay the body of a dead teenager—his dirt-covered, lifeless face staring blankly at the sky.  

I couldn’t look away from his motionless corpse. As I got out of the car, I continued to stare.  

At his feet lay another body, this one turning and moaning. It looked like his arm had been torn off at the shoulder (the detached arm was nowhere in sight), but the injury was covered by his shirt sleeve. My boss, who was also a volunteer firefighter and trained paramedic, was walking up to the two bodies and starting to take charge and bring order to the chaos.  

After just a couple of minutes, and with sirens wailing in the distance on their way to the accident, I left as to not get in their way.  

I would later find out that three people died in the accident, and the person who lost their arm survived. They all worked in our warehouse, were all friends, all under 20 years old, and none of them expected to die that day. [1] 

King Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 9:12, “For man does not know his time: Like fish taken in a cruel net, like birds caught in a snare, so the sons of men are snared in an evil time, when it falls suddenly upon them.”  

The thought of death should make you uncomfortable: the knowledge that one day you will cease to exist. You will be forgotten. Maybe you will go to heaven, maybe you will go to hell, or maybe there will just be an eternity of nothing. 

As healthy young college students, death is rarely a topic of normal contemplation. We see the elderly and assume our life will take a similar course. But since the car accident, I’ve learned that complacency and inaction will get us nowhere. An uncomfortable conversation needs to take place, and the sooner the better. 

One of the scariest questions to ask yourself is if you are ready to die. What would happen if you vanished?  

The world would keep spinning just as it always has. The flowers would open with the rising of the sun, the birds would twitter, and the butterflies would gently descend upon your tombstone. 

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But there would be a great emptiness—one that only you could fill. Your mother would feel it, your friends would feel it, and the neighbor you wave to in the mornings would feel it.   

People often think about the most preferable way to die. Some want a sudden death—to be vaporized, without pain or suffering. But the truth is that all of life is suffering, and the moments before death are no different.  

Personally, I would like some time to prepare, even if that meant my suffering was greater near the end. While I do not fear death, there is something artistic about a life concluded with purpose; like putting the final strokes on a painting.  

As in fall, when dying leaves produce a symphony color, see the beauty in each life, in each passing thing. We live in a world that is bursting with life, and that life inevitably results in death. 

As with all living things, we must die. Get comfortable with it. Start preparing now, because like those three teenagers, it could happen at any time and without warning. Learn to appreciate the life that has been given to you. 

References 

1. Goodell, E. (2021, August 6). Wapato community mourns after 3 teens dead, 4 injured in rollover crash. Yak Tri Newshttps://www.yaktrinews.com/wapato-community-mourns-after-3-teens-dead-4-injured-in-rollover-crash/  

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