When a Man Drops Dead in Front of You at the Coffee Shop

Sooooo, this happened yesterday.

I actually wasn’t planning on writing today but yesterday was one of the most surreal days of my life and I am still not quite done processing it. But I have some big thoughts I want to share about life, mortality, kindness, empathy and passion.

Yesterday I trucked up to Malibu (about 45 minutes from me in LA) to check out a friend’s new place. The two of us went to breakfast at this little café down the street from her, and we walked in only to see Jade (my ex-husband) and his friend Gary almost done eating. What are the chances! Quite the coincidence, that alone.

Considering they were almost done eating, Elizabeth and I took seats at our own table and ordered coffee. Not 5 minutes later, I hear someone behind me (like, right behind me at the next table over) start screaming.

“Help him! Help! Help my husband!” and within seconds, both of us are up out of our chairs, turned around and I look straight into the face a guy, about 30 years old, who looks … passed away. Dead. Gone. Eyes open, unfocused, body limp.

His body topples out of the chair and Jade is immediately there, along with another guy in the restaurant, and they are administering CPR. He doesn’t appear to be choking, but Jade can’t get a pulse and people are calling 911 and we are all clearing tables to make room.

Within probably 60 seconds of when the compressions begin, the guy comes to. Literally, comes back to life. Eyes focus, starts slowly moving, Jade is asking him his name and they are trying to keep him conscious until the paramedics get there.

The medics get there within literally 3 minutes, and within another 10 minutes, the man and his wife are back sitting up at their table, talking to the EMTs. And they eventually walk out.

What the?

I’m sure some of you may have experienced things like this in your life, or even god forbid, witnessed someone die like this. But I never have. And after it all happened, the 4 of us are sitting there at the restaurant trying to process what just happened:

All 4 of us happen to be at the same place, by accident, 45 minutes away from where we live.

The guy who — we later found out experienced what’s called a V-fib where the electrical rhythm of the heart becomes asynchronous and can’t pump blood appropriately (a very rare event involving electrolyte insufficiencies) — was young, and sitting exactly between our tables. It turns out that the thing that got his heart back into synchronicity were the chest compressions.

Jade’s immediate response and engagement in a scenario in which most others would freeze.

The likelihood that he would come to, and live!

I’m getting choked up again just thinking about it!

Wow.

This, along with so many things happening lately have pointed to some serious considerations for me.

What is important?

How should one live? How should we really treat others?

What attitudes should we be cultivating?

Where should we be putting our energy?

And while I’d never assume to tell anyone else how they should live (that shit doesn’t work anyway), I can share with you some of the big insights I’ve been having lately.

First, Jade recently gifted me with a commemorative Stoic coin that reads “Momento Mori” and in Latin it means, “Remember death.” And he got those same words tattooed on his chest.

It’s a message that sounds morbid, right? Like, uh, thanks? Lol.

But the point is that when you stay aware that you are mortal, and you are eventually going to die like everyone else, it reminds you to live.

And live fully. Live authentically. Do ALL THE THINGS. Love. Create. Connect. Don’t be afraid to get messy. Don’t be afraid to do bigger things, things that are uncomfortable af. Don’t go through life scared.

We only get one at bat, and when you remember that, it gives you permission to pursue that thing that you thought you weren’t good enough for, or that you dismissed as being too tough or not for you.

Eff that!

You have passion right now, inside of you to do something. It can be big or small. But you don’t have to find your passion, you already know what it is. Take action. Do the things. Elevate. And trust yourself enough to know you will be fine, better even, for it.

Next, I am not a “love and light” person, just not my style. Not because it’s not a lovely message, but to me, the bigger message is to treat one another with respect, kindness and empathy.

Sure, it sounds cliché, but IMO, it’s something not to gloss over, but to actually evaluate in yourself. How are you showing up? Minute to minute, hour to hour. Are you in your integrity, speaking your truth, acting in congruence with the person you want to be?

Egos and insecurities will always provide an emotional hijack. We’ll get defensive or feel offended, or want to deflect or make excuses, or feel self-righteous. All of us do that at times, and man, I have done my fair share! But after sitting with those things for a time, one has to ask herself, what’s the end result?

Are my actions perpetuating divisiveness, fear, gossiping and scarcity?

Or are my actions perpetuating understanding, acceptance, empathy, openness and abundance?

I am constantly asking myself these questions.

And I am no saint! I have a big ego I need to keep in check, haha! I’m a strong woman and I don’t like being wrong. I’m driven and competitive. I get emotional hits when my imperfections are pointed out to me (duh, obviously I’m not perfect), and I don’t like messing up, even though intellectually I know it’s impossible not to.

I have to constantly process my emotions like anyone else.

And I try to check myself constantly. I ask why am I feeling the way I am. I investigate my insecurities. And then I try my best to do better. Whatever that looks like.

And so … yesterday was humbling.

And I am still not quite sure wtf lol, but I do know that I don’t want to waste my finite time on this earth hating, talking shit, being scared, being defensive, being closed off, not listening, judging and blaming others.

Call me naïve, but I’d rather give every single person I meet the benefit of the doubt, to see their potential and support them in their dreams (yes, of course while being discerning and enforcing healthy boundaries).

And sure, maybe I’ll get burned. But I trust that I can handle anything, even those super unpleasant things, and then figure out a way to bounce back and live even more kindly, openly and with less ego.

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