Originally published August 13, 2014
On Saturday a life ended.
My friend was 55 years old. He had two children in the service and a grandchild. At least those are the bits I have learned in the last few days. Children grown that used to sit in my lap. Run amok in our country home. Ask a thousand questions a minute.
My friend was married to a wonderful lady who took on his and hers and welded a family together. She is patient, quiet, understanding. And she loved tiger lilies.
I admit I haven’t been close in the past, oh 14 years or so. But there was a time when our families were entwined ever so tightly. And I always trusted him when I needed someone to check on some mechanical whatever in my mother’s home.
And now he is gone.
Suddenly, without warning, a man who had spent every possible moment in the outdoors learned too late he was allergic to the sting of a bee. I wasn’t there. I don’t know how, how fast or who did what. I am operating on pure hearsay. It’s all so far away from where I am, and yet I had to call twice to complete my order at the florist. I have nothing in my box of experience to even begin to understand what place his wife and children must be in. No warning, no preparation, just—empty.
It is times like these that I appreciate what I have with my husband. Even with a broken mind, even with a personality that is so distantly removed from the man he once was; he is here with me. I can still hold his hand; I can still hold him close.
The individual consciousness of a single human being, unique in uncountable ways, can never be replaced. Treasure those you know and love; life is far too unpredictable to do anything less.