We’re barely three months into a new year but the losses are accumulating at an unsettling rate. And I’m not talking about the Final Four. 

Since January more than a handful of people I care about – my family included – have lost loved ones, several to the pernicious disease known as dementia or Alzheimer’s.

I’m shaking my head at a phenomenon that is one of the rare certainties in life. We’re all gonna go some day. Yet, we’re rarely prepared, be it for the sudden death of a cardiac patient or the slow demise of a cancer or dementia patient.

The emotions that accompany one’s passing are universal, but present themselves as more of an ala carte than a fixed menu. Tears, regrets, laugh-out-loud memories, remorse – or a confusing amalgamation thereof.

Perhaps there’s a silver lining in this cloud. The end of a life offers an opportunity to pause and reflect on how we are living our lives.

When the time comes for others to say farewell, what emotions will mark their hearts? Gratitude? Anger? Joy?

What will the obit say?

She worked like a dog.

She danced to her heart’s content.

 She shared her wit, a glass of wine, an extra meal.

She was a shameless opportunist.

For those inclined to self-analysis, here’s my question:

Are you living the legacy you want to leave?

If yes, kudos to you!

If not, why not?

If not, what steps must you take to align your life with your legacy?

If not, when will you reconfigure your route?

You only get one shot at this gig.