life is fleeting: coping with the loss of a friend.

December 2, 2011

I found out yesterday that my friend Jared unexpectedly passed away in his sleep earlier this week. I cannot fully express in words the depth of sadness that I feel for his wife, daughter, brothers, and parents. Only a year older than I, he had his whole life ahead of him. If you knew Jared, you would know that he had a bright smile kind heart that made anyone feel important and valued.

When I first found out, I felt confused and baffled. It couldn’t be true, could it? As I read Facebook post after Facebook post of condolences to their family, I started sobbing. Right in the middle of Starbucks. I gathered my things and ran out the door, only to sit in my car and sob some more. As I began mourning the sudden loss of his life, I couldn’t help but remember the other young friends I’ve lost. Chad, Amy, Nicole, my cousin Josh. All died in their twenties, unpredictably and all-too-soon.

Life is so fleeting. We feel like we’re going to live forever, but we never know how long we have. Rather than living in fear that we might suddenly lose someone we love, my challenge to all of us is this: live today and every day to the fullest.

  • Let’s forgive those who have wronged us, whether they deserve it or not.
  • Let’s tell our family and friends how much they mean to us.
  • Let’s call our parents, grandparents and mentors to thank them for the impact they’ve made in our lives.
  • Let’s send a card to someone who needs encouragement.
  • Let’s take the time to watch the sunset and enjoy God’s simple gifts.
  • Let’s remember that we’re never too young to love, inspire and empower those around us.

My thoughts and prayers are with Jared’s family this week. Jared, Chad, Amy, Nicole, and Josh: you are all missed terribly, and the world simply isn’t the same without you here.

Have you lost a young friend or family member? How has it impacted the way you live your life today?

Top photo: Jared and I in high school, after a basketball game.

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  • Reply Jillb December 2, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    May Jared’s family and friends find a way to cope and know that peace will come back to theirs hearts in time.

  • Reply Kristie Vosper December 2, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    Oh Natalie I am so sorry for your loss. I know very well what this all feels like. I have found in many ways the witnesses to seasons of our life have such an profound impact and hold great importance, even if we don’t see these people all the time.

    Prayers for you, your friends, his family as you walk these days this next week.

  • Reply Natalie Lynn Borton December 2, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    Thanks for your prayers, Jill and Kristie.

  • Reply Susan Horne December 2, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    Natalie … what a nice tribute to a wonderful friend who left this world way too soon. Jared was a very, very nice person who, as you know, I had the pleasure of meeting while you both attended high school. May he Rest in Peace! Dad and I will pray for his wife, daughter, and his mom and dad (who are also wonderful people) in hopes that one day they will find peace and understanding in their hearts.

  • Reply Natalie Lynn Borton December 2, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    Thanks, Mom. I appreciate all of the support and prayers I’ve gotten from you and Dad since I heard the news. I know this is very sad for both of you as well. Know that I love you so much.

  • Reply Dave Horne December 3, 2011 at 1:18 am


    As I think you know, I was very found of Jared. He was the first boy you ever went out with that I truly approved of.

    There is seemingly no GOOD NEWS in a life snuffed out so soon, but I think there is something for all of us to take away from Jared’s life.

    In 27 short years, he inspired everyone he knew with his unselfish spirit, relentless will to achieve without stepping on anyone else, and be a living example of what it means to be a great young man to everyone he met.

    He will be missed so dearly, but his legacy is that even in 27 short years, one can live an exemplary life that inspires others.

    We will continue to pray for Jared’s loved ones and you.

    Love — Your Dad…

  • Reply Courtney harfmann December 3, 2011 at 3:06 am

    My sincerest condolences Natalie. Although, I’ve never lost a close friend, I emphathize for your loss. I will keep his family and friends in my prayers. May His grace and love protect you during this difficult time. (Sending virtual hugs your way!)

  • Reply Rachel Johnson December 5, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    Thank you for your vulnerability in this post. Thinking of you and praying for you and Jared’s sweet family. So grateful for you.

  • Reply Natalie Lynn Borton December 5, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    Dad–You are so right. Although it’s never good to see life end so soon, God is always making tragedy into beauty. The beauty that comes from his early death is the inspiration he’s given to all of us that it’s never too soon to be a good example and live an inspirational life.

    Courtney–thank you for your prayers and virtual hugs! I appreciate the support!

    Rach–Thanks for being there for me this week. Your prayers and email check-ins have meant so much to me.

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