0004: Carpe Diem
Lately I’ve been thinking about the phrase, “carpe diem.” No doubt mostly everyone has heard of this phrase. If you haven’t heard of it, don’t worry. The phrase was introduced by the Roman Poet Horace, which means it’s a Latin phrase that means to “seize the day,” or poetically speaking the phrase is telling us that “one should enjoy life while one can.”
During the December-January months of 2019-2020, I had scheduled a trip to Mexico to visit my best friend. At the last minute, I canceled because “I had other things to do.” And while those things were true, in reality they could have been done while I was in Mexico. “Don’t worry. I’ll see you in the summer.” I told my best friend. Of course, we didn’t know our lives were about to change.
The pandemic hit us and suddenly by March 2020 most of us were working from home and I never imagined my summer trip to Mexico was going to be canceled due to the pandemic, but it was. The opportunity to see my best friend was gone once again.
“Well,” I said to myself. “Maybe I’ll be able to see him at Christmas time.”
In October 2020 my friend called to let me know that he needed to travel to the United States due to a family matter. He was going to be in the area for ten days and wanted to know if he could come and visit me for two days. We made plans.
My friend spent the first three days (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) of his trip with his family, then he spent two days (Monday midday through Wednesday midday) with me and went back to his family to finish his 10-day trip. During the time he was at my home, we ate, we drank, we talked about our many adventures, and we planned future trips. “I need to go to Mexico in March (2021),” I told him. “Excellent!” He responded.
He was back in Mexico City the Sunday after he was at my place, and while he waited for his brother to pick him up at the airport, we had a short phone conversation. Wednesday morning, (three days after his return to Mexico), he texted me to let me know he had been sick and had tested positive for COVID-19. We exchanged a few messages and I promised I would call him on Friday. Friday came and I called but he didn’t answer so I texted him. He answered back and we exchanged a few messages. In them, he told me he was struggling and needed to rest, but that I didn’t need to worry, and that he would call me in a week to tell me about the whole ordeal.
The following Tuesday I received a called from a mutual friend. The moment I looked at my phone and identified the caller, I knew the reason she was calling. I answered the phone and all I heard was “Se nos ha ido, Carlos. Se nos ha ido.” We exchanged a few words and once I hanged up, I started crying like a little child. My best friend had passed away.
Since his passing I’ve been thinking about the concept of “carpe diem.” I’ve been thinking how I canceled a trip to visit my best friend and how, if it wouldn’t been for his visit, I would have probably had never seen him again. Or maybe, it if wouldn’t been for his trip, he wouldn’t have died. I don’t know. That is something I would never know. But since then, I think that every day is a precious one and that I need to seize it once it arrives. I’ve always known that death is unavoidable and comes unexpectedly. Yet, I didn’t truly and fully comprehend this reality until my best friend passed away just a few days after he would have been at my place. My heart is, of course, broken. Carpe Diem!