Martin was 15 years old.
He was my best friend at secondary school. Had been since we first met as infants.
On one May evening he went home feeling a bit under the weather. I’d seen him at school that day to wish him well on his coming school trip to Germany after the weekend. He looked a bit tired but excited to be going.
I’ll always remember his cheery smile, the wave he gave me, and his words as he walked away, ‘See you in a week or so, I’ll tell you all about it’.
He never got to.
That Friday night he went home, feeling unwell he went to bed and never woke up. He died of meningitis in hospital the next day.
I have never forgotten that day or Martin every day I have lived.
Why? Not just because he was my fabulous mate and it seemed so unfair, but because it could have been me who got the meningitis. Or who was knocked down by a car (one once stopped 6 inches from me as I crossed the road when I was about 8 years old) or any other surprise fatality or sudden illness.
It’s spurred me on in his memory for 35 years to always try things, risk, follow my dreams, go after what matters, believe in what I can achieve, and attempt the unattempted.
Tomorrow we may not be here. Tomorrow isn’t promised.
Today is all we have.
Our lives are forever counting down.
Take the chance today lest it never comes or you miss it and it never comes back. Like it did for Martin. Things happen every single day to people of any age anywhere doing anything in any way.
You can’t plan for fate as you are waiting for life to happen.
There is one reason you should go after the life you long for. The ONLY reason!!!
One day you won’t have a tomorrow. Make it count TODAY!
You may know a Martin. A person who had so much before them and never got the opportunity to live it. Or read about people who were gone before their life opened up or just before they had planned to pursue a path they long hoped for.
Don’t make that person you.
The life you longed for ISN’T a long way away. It’s here today!!
In memory of Martin Stapleton.
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Image courtesy of Mark Fischer.