We are the lucky ones

Recently I came across the most heartbreaking and moving blog post I’ve ever seen. A man called Derek Miller, wrote and published his last blog post, ever.

I suppose one should expect more online legacies and tributes in the increasingly connected digital space but this was the first post-mordem post I’ve ever come across.

Derek was suffering from prostate cancer for a few years now. I’d never come across his blog before he died, despite him being from Vancouver, where I used to live. When I read his last post I was moved beyond words. In addition to sending wishes of love and hope to his family, friends and supporters, he shared this truth:

I’ve also been lucky. I’ve never had to wonder where my next meal will come from. I’ve never feared that a foreign army will come in the night with machetes or machine guns to kill or injure my family. I’ve never had to run for my life (something I could never do now anyway). Sadly, these are things some people have to do every day right now.

And he couldn’t be more right.

After thinking about all of the places I’ve lived and where I call home (Canada) I started looking online to see if there was a way for me to qualify or quantity the quality of life I’ve experienced living in Canada and the UK.

Low and behold, I found an excellent website: If It Were My Home. IIWMH is a comparison tool between countries based on an index of various factors. So I can find out things like if Colombia were my home instead of Canada, I’d die 6.8 years sooner. Or if I lived in Haiti instead of the UK, the chances of me having HIV/AIDS is 90.91%.

The service can also tell you the impact that disasters have on areas such as the BP oil spill and the damage experienced by populations in and around the Gulf of Mexico.

Many of us are so lucky to have the lives, freedom, mobility and education that we have. Yet every day we get so stressed about pretty unimportant stuff in the grand scheme of things.

Derek Miller will have many legacies, least not, being the stranger who reminded me of just how lucky I am compared to most people in this world.

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