I received word on Saturday night that a man that I knew passed away unexpectedly that morning. Now, I had not seen this man for at least 5 or 6 years and we certainly weren't close but I remember this man fondly for he was truly "larger than life" in personality and spirit. The type of person who should be immortal, one might think. Unfortunately, that was not the case as this 45 year old man who was full of zest for life, suddenly died of a heart attack just a day after returning from a Disney World Vacation with his wonderful family. I found myself spending alot of time thinking about him and his family during the past two days. It was a busy weekend, but he kept creeping into my thoughts. My heart ached for his wife and children who are no doubt reeling from this sudden and horrible event. I prayed for them to find some peace in knowing he is in heaven watching down on them. I prayed that their close family will hold them up and keep them safe and sane during a truly insane period when, I am sure....absolutely nothing makes sense.
Of course, being the narcissist that I can be, I began to think about my own life and about lives in general. It seems lately, I have come just way too close to so many cases of amazing people leaving this world well before they were supposed to. It really makes you pause and think about how life is really so short and uncertain. Many of us become so self involved and think only about the minor inconveniences in life as if they are the end of the world. The truth is, they are just that, inconveniences. Even major issues like divorce, job loss, home foreclosure should seem insignificant compared to the immeasurable grief of a family who loses a loved one well before "their time."
Again, the question becomes, understanding the impact of an event such as this on those of us in the periphery, what does one do? Maybe, just maybe, we hug our kids a bit more, we drink a bit of wine, we go for a 2 mile run, we call our mother, we go to church, we reach out to old friends on facebook, we make love to our spouse, we sit on the deck with some iced tea, we smell the flowers, well, you get the idea. And we feel at that moment as if our kids are just a bit sweeter, the laughs are that much funnier, the iced tea is the best we've ever had, because we really savor it. That's my plan. Because, let's face it, life is a crap shoot anyway and there are no guarantees. That's the lesson here, a painful and awful lesson, but one that I need to remember more often. Rest in peace Chip.........I am sure there will a Preakness Party in heaven this year.