For Sam & Michael
I’m gonna put it out there: I’m not optimistic about 2017. I’m usually not a pessimist, but things haven’t gotten off to a great start. And we’re only three days in. I woke up on New Year’s Day terribly sick and couldn’t get out of bed all day. I know what you’re thinking. And no, it wasn’t the wine. I had some sort of weird 24-hour flu bug. That was no way to ring in the new year and I hoped it wasn’t representative of what lies ahead. But I shook it off because I love starting fresh with the flip of the calendar. Everything feels optimistic and new. Then I got a call yesterday that changed everything.
My uncle was doing some shopping and suddenly collapsed. He had a massive heart attack and they couldn’t revive him. He was simply opening a door, which turned out to be a gateway to the other side. I’m still reeling from the news. I just can’t shake the overwhelming feeling of sadness at the tragedy of it. My uncle was a good man. I haven’t seen him in a long time—he got divorced from my aunt a number of years ago and remarried. But when I was younger our families were together all the time. My first cousin (his daughter) is the same age as me. We were as thick as thieves growing up and spent countless holidays and everything in-between together. Our kids are now the exact same ages—we both had girls first followed by boys—and our daughters even have the same name. It was by pure coincidence. Maybe some of that togetherness rubbed off. Anyway, I keep thinking about how my cousin lost her dad and her kids lost their grandfather. Out of the blue, with no chance to say goodbye. It makes me so angry, especially when I think about all of the evil people in this world who get to live another day. It’s not fair.
I know this is life but sometimes it really sucks. I don’t know what to say to her because words can never fill the void in her heart. I’m sorry isn’t enough. Because from this day forward her life is forever changed and she will always feel his absence in moments big and small. I know with time the pain will dull, but it will always be there. Even now that I have my own family I still rely on my parents. I don’t know if there ever comes an age where you don’t need them. My husband lost his mom when he was in college. And even all these years later we still feel the loss in moments she can’t share. I have close friends and neighbors who lost their parents. All taken far too early. It scares the hell out of me that things can change in an instant.
I usually have a point when writing these posts, but I didn’t start out with a goal in mind. I’m heart-broken about it and I guess writing is my catharsis. If I had to make one it’s that I’ve become complacent about the preciousness of life. And I know all too well from experience that it should never be taken for granted. But I get caught up in the daily grind and sometimes forget. Then the unexpected happens and it reminds me that life is short. It’s also exhilarating and mysterious with endless possibilities. Sometimes I get stuck counting down the days until this, that and the other that they pass me by. But life is for living and it’s so important to make each day count. That is how we can honor their memories. So I guess my outlook for 2017 is to enjoy it to the fullest.