Life is so fragile

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I know this better than anyone.  I have lost quite a few members of my family in my lifetime.  One of my first experiences with death was losing my Grandpa when I was 7 or 8 years old.  I remember my parents getting a call telling them that something was wrong.  I remember playing in the front yard while my mom and dad went up the street to my grandparents house, thinking that it must be my grandma that was sick.  Apparently my Grandpa had died of a heart attack a few hours earlier while feeding the birds in his backyard.  That was one of his favorite things to do.  Something as simple as that and he died while doing it.  They actually found him with peanuts in his hand on his back patio.

A few years later I lost my Grandma.  She and my Grandpa had always had issues, but she missed him so much and was never the same without him.  After many years of smoking cigarettes, she got lung cancer and had one of her lungs removed.  She was on oxygen 24/7 and had to have a visiting nurse.  Even while on oxygen she still tried to sneak cigarettes and would bribe us kids to sneak them for her.  Then she started losing her memory.  That was terrible.  She didn't remember me or any of my siblings.  One of my last memories of her was having Easter at the hospital where she was.  I have never once in my life smoked a cigarette thanks to her.

In the next few years I started to lose lots of other aunts and uncles.   About seven years ago I lost one of the great Aunts that I had been close with when I was young.  She died suddenly of a suspected brain aneurysm.  I took several days off work to attend the funeral.  I remember how awful the ceremony was.  It was at a funeral home and there weren't very many people or flowers there.  I remember hugging the one grandma that I have left at the cemetary.  It was her sister that had passed.  I remember thinking...this has to be the last person for a while.

Then I got the call from my mom late Friday night telling my that my Dad had died.  Apparently his heart stopped while he was driving home from his soccer game (myocarditis & enlarged heart).  My husband (who was my boyfriend at the time) and I were on our way back from the movie theater.  We had just seen Flight 93.  The events that followed that phone conversation are very fuzzy to me.  I don't remember much from the few weeks that followed.  I remember being at the funeral home and having to hug so many people for so many hours as they streamed through.  I remember trying to hold it together for my little siblings.  I remember seeing my Dad laying there peacefully in the casket.  I remember seeing my Mom, Uncle, and my Grandma completely wrecked.  I didn't know what to do or how to feel.  I just felt numb.

I have lost many other family members in the years that followed.  My husband has been lucky to lose very few.  His Grandma is almost 100.  Having the 3 miscarriages this past year made me realize that life at all stages is so fragile.  I used to associate death with the elderly, but after losing my dad and my babies, I have completely changed my opinion.  Death comes when you are least expecting it and at any age so we need to live each day like it is our last.  You never know when your number is going to come up.  I have to keep reminding myself of that.

Yesterday we received an email at work, saying that one of our co-workers had died of a heart attack on his drive in to work that morning.  I can just imagine he left his family that morning expecting to see them again at the end of the day.  I hope that he at least told his wife that he loved her before he left.

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