falling and dying
For those who may not have heard of seen this, a stunt man, Todd Green, fell to his death in front of thousands at a Selfridge, Michigan air show several days ago. He was doing a stunt he had done numerous times before but this time something went terribly wrong. Perhaps the wind was too strong or perhaps he simply lost his concentration for one brief moment but that was all it took for the end to come for him.
Todd was attempting to transfer from the wing of a flying airplane to the undercarriage of a helicopter, as his dad, a notable wing walker had done before, and as Todd had done himself for some 25 years and as he had done the day before. He wore no parachute and was some 200 feet off the ground so he didn't have a chance once he fell from the plane.
It would be easy to simply say how sad this was but I find that other questions bother me as well. Should Todd have stopped doing that act when he became a husband so that he and his wife could have grown old together, could have raised their children together, or would that have been a form of emotional or spiritual death for him? We could say that he had watched his father do the same act years before and so was trained to do it but it only takes one moment for a strap to be in the wrong place, a piece of metal he should have been able to hold onto be a little slippery, or just being a little too careless because of trying too hard to put on a good show for all those watching some 200 feet below for tragedy to occur.
It is easy to think afterwards that he should have worn a parachute or even that he should have had one of those wing suits on and perhaps that may have saved his life but there is something more important to remember here.
It only takes a second for life to end for any of us. It may be falling from an airplace 200 feet in the air, or a police officer climbing into his squad car to begin his shift, or a person having one last drink before leaving the bar to drive home. It may not even be anything we do but someone else having had that one drink too many or trying to send or receive a text while driving their car, or any one of thousands of other events which lead to someone dying.
We have to remember that each second could be out last through no fault of our own and we need to always be sure to hug those we love as if it will be the last time and tell those we love that we do love them as if we will not have a chance to tell them again. Too often people are torn apart by the death of a loved one not only because of the death but because of the regret at what they did or did not do an hour before or the day before or even the weeks or months before the death of a loved one.
Todd Green died doing what he loved and I hope that brings some consolation to his friends and family but his death may serve an even greater purpose if everyone who saw him die realizes that life is too short to not take the time to tell someone that we love them instead of waiting until we get home from work, finishes cooking dinner, or taking out the garbage.
The biggest regret in life surely has to be an emotion not shared before it is no longer possible to share it with someone we love.