I live and write on Lingít Aaní, and gratefully acknowledge the past, present and future caretakers of this beautiful place, the Jilkaat Kwaan and Jilkoot Kwaan.

“We each have an appointed time on this earth, so live as if your departure date is tomorrow. Hug your friends, tell your family you love them, praise God and open the champagne.Nothing is forever. Always err on the side of generosity.”— Carol Flegel, whose husband Rich died January 27th.

Of course Carol is right. And yes, we should all do this– and yet…

Why do we need the reminders? And why do they have to be so extreme. Can’t we remember this without someone we care about dying? Why do we (and I mean we humans. It’s our condition isn’t it?) forget this a few weeks or months after each funeral?(I know, so many questions.) But there are more: who beyond the obvious circle of family and close friends are the people you and I see regularly, that make our days a bit brighter, that have no clue how much we like them?— And here’s an even deeper thought– do we know their names? Do they know ours? Do they know that we think they are pretty terrific? That we will miss them when they are gone?(Carol has sure got me thinking, hasn’t she? That’s what friends are for.) Would it be weird to suddenly tell them this with a big hug? (No doubt.)

Maybe we could begin by wearing name tags. It’s a start. (They are not only for clerks at the grocery store.)

Carol also sent another morning email. This one was a  week after Rich died. A book arrived in the mail that he had ordered. “I guess he wants me to read it,” she said. (Here’s your Sunday Smile.)