Yesterday, a few hours ago actually, I lost one of my old friends to the pandemic.
The troubling part is that I didn’t even know he got sick, and I learned about him being sick, in a critical condition, and then his passing away all on the same day, all within hours.
That’s how could anything change drastically in one’s life, within hours, minutes even.
My friend Hazem Osama Abouleneen was one of the kindest souls I’ve ever known in my life. A cheerful fellow with a spectacular contagious laugh that would immediately make you laugh.
The last time we met, he was trying to cheer me up because of the troubles I was having at work. I see how everyone on social media saying they have nothing but respect and love for him, something I can attest to personally.
I’ve known Hazem since 2015 at work at a miserable job that we both hated with every fiber of our being. I don’t remember who quit first, him or I, but it was within weeks of one another.
Years later when I was applying for another job and learned he was at the same company, he was one of my go-to guys to get his feel about the place since everyone was saying good things about it and I wanted to hear the real truth.
He’d always been an honest, straightforward, stand-up guy all the way through. I flipped through the photos on my phone and could only find one picture of us together. He was always the group selfie guy and he had most of our memories together.
The people who touch your life on such a deep level are few and far in between. The lesson here is to try your best to be kind and loving to everyone you know. You never know!
Memento Mori. This is one of the pillars of Stoicism, to be always mindful of death. Don’t treat life as an open buffet of pleasures that’s supposed to cater to your every whim and pleasure. Stay in touch with reality and pull yourself always towards the middle. Don’t let the highs get to your head, and don’t let the lows get to your spirit.
If we’re only passing through, then the best thing we could ever hope for is to leave a mark of improvement on the world, to be of service, to provide more value to the world than what the world is offering us, and to give people hope, love, and support.
Every one of your actions is a memory to someone else. Every decision you will ever make will have a toll on your life. Every person you interact with will have a lasting impression of you.
I believe my friend Hazem did very well in the world if all he’s leaving behind is nothing but good memories and people remembering him always smiling and always laughing.
May you rest in peace, my dear friend. You will be missed by everyone you’ve ever known.