Lessons From an Unexpected Tragedy

How a thought-provoking tragedy can reshape how you're living your life today

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Photo by Leio McLaren (@leiomclaren) on Unsplash

 I found out today that an old acquaintance of mine unexpectedly passed away. I met Bud Jones I used to ref basketball games years ago, he actually taught me a lot about the ins and outs of being a referee. That being said I found out that he collapsed this past week, while reffing a basketball game and shortly passed away after.

I’m sharing this with you for a few reasons:

1) I believe that one of the most eye-opening things in life is death or near death experiences. It forces you to pause, think about your own mortality and the way you’re currently living your life. Death is inevitable, but as a society we don’t spend much time discussing it or living life every day knowing that death could knock on our door at any time. What do you want to accomplish in your life? What do you think happens after death? Why is there fear in thinking about death?

2) No life is EVER lived in vain. Unfortunately, we don’t always acknowledge what people have brought to our lives until it’s too late. I only knew Bud on a professional level within the world of referees, but even as I type this I can envision his infectious smile and laugh. His patience, ability to teach and mentor, and his love for the game of basketball. We all have a light inside of us that can shine onto others we come across and leave a lasting impact. What is a lesson you’ve learned (good or bad) or something you’ve admired from someone in your life? If they’re still alive, have you sincerely thanked or told them this?

3) The game Bud was working continued on after he collapsed. That being said, too many times I hear of people putting work before themselves or their families. I want you to remember that the world always keeps spinning. If something was to happen to you, your job, organization, business will keep going on without you. I know that can be a hard concept to grasp when we put so much of our blood, sweat and tears into our work, but the point of it is to say don’t “kill” yourself for your work and miss out on what’s really important in life. Your organization will replace you in a heartbeat when it needs to. Are you giving too much of yourself to an organization that would move on fairly smoothly without you? Are you prioritizing yourself in your day to day life?

4) I want to encourage each of you to really cherish times with your loved ones this Holiday season. We all have so much to be grateful for. I ask you all to keep families in mind that are missing loved ones during the holidays and carry on the spirit of Bud Jones this week. He was an energetic, optimistic and full of life soul. One thing that brings solace to this tragedy is that he passed doing what he absolutely loved. Knowing that death is inevitable, if I could choose how I go- doing something that brought me great joy would be ideal. Are you putting yourself in consistent situations of doing things that bring you great joy?

5) Is the way you’re living your life today, how you’d want others to remember you forever? If not, take some time to think about how you’d want to be remembered and why you’d want to be remembered that way. What is the legacy you want to leave behind? In honor of Bud, I share with you how I’ll always remember him. Please share his message with someone else today. This is a perfect example of his genuine life outlook, his very last Facebook post:

“The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero

Follow Erica Ferguson on her blog and weekly publication “Your Weekly Recharge” at

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