A recent event has influenced me like no other: my Tio Juan’s death. Throughout my life, I have largely been inoculated from the caprices of the fates. When most describe loss, it’s typically associated with someone known and loved well. But in my case, this was the opposite. My Tio Juan was never a man you knew, just a man you knew of: a sergeant, a veteran, a smoker. I learned more about him during his funeral than I did in life. From that moment on, his death has given my life newfound clarity—an awareness of the brevity of life—that we have a finite amount of time to do what we must and love who we can. His death reminds me to hug my own father a little tighter, and work harder day-to-day. Every morning since that funeral, I wake up to a reminder on my phone: Momento Mori. Dating back to Socrates, this latin phrase roughly translates to “remember death.” This daily practice reminds me of what really matters in life, so that perhaps on my funeral day, those I love will not be learning about me for the first time.
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