All of the 12 above people talented in their own unique way. The question though is did death take them too young, at their prime, accidently or is was their destiny preordained from the moment of their birth and their time here was done, their message delivered? Should they return for an encore?
I know some of you are looking at this and wishing you could bring back a loved one you lost too soon, just to have that one more moment with them. A chance to say - "I love you" - "You matter to me" - "Thank you" ... whatever it may be you feel was left unsaid. Yet as we know the cruelty of life doesn't allow us that luxury. Death is the ultimate final curtain call on our small part in one Act of the Play of Life and the one from which we can never return for just one more bow.
I believe their time here was done and their message delivered. Whether preordained at birth or whatever it is you believe in, I believe we come here to learn, to pass on that message and then we leave. I know it sounds simple and perhaps harsh but some of us get to stay longer and some of not. Some of us will never learn the lesson or will choose not to pass it on. It is ultimately always our choice.
Robin Williams is a tragic example of someone who had a message which has been delivered loud and clear with his death. A man who gave the world a million smiles and who left behind a library of laughs, but who while alive suffered from the depths of depression which was never seen. How could a comedian be depressed we asked after hearing of his suicide? Looking back now on his movie roles perhaps the answers lie there, we will never really know.
What we do know now is that depression doesn't present as that morbid person dragging himself along the pavement bemoaning his life. Depression can be, and is, a high functioning individual capable of deceiving all as to his dark depths... and the lesson we need to learn is that we need to be more aware to mental health disorders which are often dismissed as attention seeking. Yes a tragic way to learn that lesson but instead of criticising him and his memory rather take the message and promise to never dismiss a loved one who says they are depressed. You could save their life.
What each of the above do have in common is their ability to live the saying Carpe Diem, seize the day, to its fullest. Despite their early deaths they seized every opportunity which came their way and left a lasting impression on this world - so much so that we would love them to be back for that final curtain call. Just once more is all we ask.
I haven't yet lost somebody that close to me, (touch wood) and although not naive to the finality of death this does cushion me slightly in my experiences. The last few years has seen the death of people I grew up hearing and reading about, listening to or reading their words; Nelson Mandela, Nadine Gordimer, Whitney Houston, Robin Williams, Joe Cocker, BB King ... and the funny thing with aging is you start having those 'I remember where I was moments when I heard the news'. My first clear memory of that was of Freddie Mercury's death - was a late November afternoon in the classroom when our History teacher told us about it. I never appreciated his music then (only being 15 years old) but that memory stays with me forever. It is because they touched my life in some way and in reflection I wonder what if they could have had just one more song, book, movie... would the impact have been more or less? Would they have been able to uphold the image I have of them now?
As I near 40 I am starting to wonder where my "seize the day" moments are? There is a quote going around Facebook at the moment which says "There is no ways I was put on this earth to just pay bills and die!" and I believe that for myself with every fiber of my being. This is not the sum total of my life. My legacy will be more because I know it in my heart. Not world famous more but just more for me.
We all think 'seize the day' means we have to do something big and bold and that it has to stand out and above everybody else to have meaning. No it doesn't. It only needs to stand out to YOU and then YOU will know YOU have made the most of each moment you were given. The journey is yours to live. You are responsible to yourself. Make each moment you have count.
So who would I bring back, for a movie, book, song, last conversation?
There is not one person who has died that I would want to bring back and my reason is simple. Their life and death at their time was a lesson to later generations and to tamper with that means to alter the course of history. I also believe that each man or woman, although great in his or her time, is great in that time and can't be transplanted to the world we live in today. I don't know if Gandhi would be able to advocate peace in the world that it is today. Or if Marilyn Monroe could ever compete with the stick thin actresses deemed sexy by modern movie goers.
And the message is no matter how tragic their death or how young they were taken, their time has passed and we need to respect that. Lamenting over their death and wishing them back for just 'one more' traps us in the past.
We all spend too much time worrying about the past and fretting about the future and in doing so we forget to live in the present. We cannot change the past and our actions now will dictate our future. So we need to learn to move forward and be present. Stop wanting to bring back the past to your dinner table - you'll hunt up a whole lot of other unwanted guests along with it! Focus instead on those loved ones that are at your dinner table now. Seize moments with them to leave a legacy with. They are your chance at a final movie every day because we never know what will happen in the next moment so make this one count.
So go ahead and seize it. Carpe Diem.