On the Finiteness of Time and Making Every Moment Count

Image edited from Shop PBS

Yesterday I attended a “Celebration of Life” for a dear friend from college, Lauren. She died suddenly of an arteriovenous malformation (AVM).

An AV-What?

A quick internet search taught me that an AVM is a tangle of abnormal blood vessels connecting arteries and veins.

You might remember from science class (I had to look it up), but arteries are responsible for taking oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the brain, and veins carry the oxygen-depleted blood back to the lungs and heart. My research told me that when an AVM disrupts this vital process, the surrounding tissue becomes oxygen-deficient. This can cause the affected arteries and veins to weaken, becoming susceptible to rupture. I learned that if the AVM is in the brain and ruptures, it can cause hemorrhage (bleeding in the brain), stroke, or brain damage.

The image is shocking. But I had to keep reading more. This can’t be common?

Brain AVMs are in fact quite rare, affecting less than one percent of the population. Interestingly, an estimated two-thirds of AVMs occur before age 40. Every year, about four percent of people with an AVM will experience a hemorrhage, and each hemorrhage poses a 10 percent risk of death.

Celebrating Lauren

Though meant to be a celebration, Lauren’s memorial was actually quite heartbreaking. Tables were strewn with stories about Lauren—each full of photos and recounts of each individual’s memories with her. 

Somber faces tried to force smiles. Her parents struggled to hold back tears, and their voices cracked as they recounted stories about their feisty daughter and her fearless nature.

It was hard for all us to find words.

But celebrating Lauren’s life made me reflect on the finiteness of our time and the importance of making every moment count.

Lauren certainly embraced life, travelling to more countries than I can even dare to count. Her Instagram page is filled with amazing pictures from her worldwide adventures, and she lived a happy day-to-day with the love of her life.

Even still, I can’t help but think how unfair it is that Lauren was ripped from this world so soon. She had so many more adventures planned, so many more items to cross off on her bucket list.

Though I know she wanted to visit so many more places, and she dreamed of growing old with her partner in crime, I like to think that Lauren left this world with no regrets.

Embracing Life

Reflecting on Lauren’s life made me wonder—if I were to die suddenly tomorrow, would I have any regrets? Would I wish I had spent more time with my family? Stayed in better touch with my friends? Dedicated more time to travelling? Spent less time working?


Each week I write and post about work—how we can improve, how we can do better. And occasionally I’ll write about mindfulness, managing stress, and finding that necessary balance between work and life.

But today I am simply writing about the importance of life. None of the work stuff matters if we don’t take the time to embrace life. To do the things that really make us happy. To spend time with friends and family. To paint. To read. To travel. To love deeply.

Life is short. If you’re not happy with something in your life, I urge you to make a change. Too often we wait to celebrate life until after it has ended. 

Let’s celebrate life today.

Written by Ashley Kayes, CP APMP
Senior Proposal Consultant, AOC Key Solutions, Inc. (KSI)


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