Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Grateful for every day

A couple of people who came into and touched our lives have died.  Both died within a day of each other, so we are still absorbing this.

My wife's sponsor died of lung cancer, going peacefully in her sleep.  She was diagnosed about two years ago, went through surgery and radiation for a brain tumor and chemotherapy for lung cancer.  After receiving her 17 year chip recently, her health deteriorated markedly.  She could no longer walk and towards the end was bed ridden.  Thankfully, her struggle and pain is now over.

Her husband is bereft.  We, and other members of the AA community, have been taking food over and sitting with him when family aren't there.  It's one thing to know that someone is going to die, but when the actual event occurs, it still is shocking and sad.

We also got the news yesterday that an old friend from graduate school days died from a massive heart attack on Monday.  I remember him as a young, vigorous fellow who liked to party and worked hard at his job.  We hadn't seen him in years and had heard that he had retired not so long ago.  Now, he is dead, leaving a wife, a daughter and a couple of grandchildren.

When I heard of his death, my heart felt especially heavy because he is only a few years older than me.  I could see him as being young and remembered when we had a beer or two together, went fishing, and celebrated his engagement.  It's a time warp to go from those days to now, as if the person is frozen in time, not aging or becoming infirm over time.

I know that I'm lucky to be in good health and that my wife is lucky to be here. I'm grateful for every day.

When you are five, you know your age down to the month. Even in your twenties, you know how old you are. I'm twenty-three you say, or maybe twenty-seven. But then in your thirties, something strange starts to happen. It is a mere hiccup at first, an instant of hesitation. How old are you? Oh, I'm--you start confidently, but then you stop. You were going to say thirty-three, but you are not. You're thirty-five. And then you're bothered, because you wonder if this is the beginning of the end. It is, of course, but it's decades before you admit it.— Sara Gruen (Water for Elephants)

20 comments:

  1. I constantly wonder why death is such a mystery to us in that it happens to us all.
    And yet, it is.
    No matter what we eat or how much we exercise or how positive our thoughts are, we are all going to die.
    For some reason, this doesn't bother me when it comes to thoughts of my own death.
    Now- for the deaths of those I love?
    No. I can't think about that.

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  2. My dad died at 57 (two years younger than me) and my real dad died at 51 (7 years younger than me). It's disconcerting if I think about it too long.

    We need to try to seize the day, every day.

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  3. I get that quote about aging. I never cared about my age until the last three or so years. I'm so horrified that it does bother me, that it does feel like I've lost something. I don't see myself as middle aged, my husband as there with me. I still think of myself as in my 20s (maybe it was the stunting that drinking did to me in my late 20s to 35). The idea of blinking and losing a friend like you have wants to feel remote, but reality is that time marches on.

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  4. this def reminds us to be grateful...to take advantage of the time we have...i am sorry for your losses man...

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  5. Thank you for sharing, Syd. And so sorry for your losses.

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  6. Sorry for both of your losses Syd.
    I'm happy that you and C have each other and your health and boat too.

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  7. No mortal man has yet made the shield to raise to ward off the one inevitable blow. Dying is hardest on the living for the dead they care no more.


    Grieve your loss and be content knowing you are yet still breathing surrounded, not in the nighttime of life, but in the daylight of your being for a while longer yet.

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  8. I'm so sorry for the losses. It is hard when we start losing our peers.

    And I love the Water for Elephants quote. I bought the Audible.com version and the narrator who did Jacob as an old man was awesome! When I read this quote, I can hear him speaking it.

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  9. Hi, your blog really touches me, have been reading it for awhile... Just wanted you to know about a website i started ReadYourBiblesChurch.com... It's a place for Bible study guides.. I also put a forum in that can be viewed from a mobile device.. I couldn't find where to contact you privately so I'm commenting, hope that is okay. :) God Bless!
    Jenn.

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  10. I'm so sorry for your loss of special friends. Reading how "other members of the AA community" surrounded the sponsor's husband reminds me how special the friendships and support are in both AA and AlAnon. I am in awe at how quickly program people respond to those in need.

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  11. Even an expected death is a stunning blow. Such finality. I am so sorry for the losses you and C are suffering. I'm glad you have friends to join with in this pain. God bless you both.

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  12. I've just been through the death of a good friend, and don't feel as though I've really absorbed the loss yet. It comes to us all, a shocking and painful time.

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  13. I am sorry for both of your losses.

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  14. I'm sorry for your losses. It is interesting to note that they were so different...one a lengthy illness, the other a sudden attack.
    I'm of the age where I don't dread dying...I just hope it's the latter. (

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  15. I have always wondered how I am going to die. I have always had a niggling feeling that I would die young and honestly didn't think I'd make it to 40, but I did. Now that I have children, I pray that I'm around long enough to see them grow up.

    I am truly sorry for your loss, Syd. I know it must be a shock.

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  16. I'm sorry for your dual losses, Syd. Being grateful for every day, as you are, is the only way I have found to deal with the sadness of loss. Nice quote there - so true.

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  17. I'm so sorry to hear of the loss too. My heart goes out to your wife and to her sponsors husband.

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  18. I'm turning 51 this July, and the number just seems strange. Maybe because both my parents and several friends have passed over the past few years, I am well aware that our minutes are precious. That's why when I feel I'm not living life authentically I get frustrated--it goes by literally in a flash. As much as possible, yes, Carpe Diem. I'm truly sorry for the loss of your friends and am sending love to you and C.

    Monica

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  19. Very sad... I hope your wife will find another sponsor that she can trust.

    There are a few people in my life that I'm very close too, that I pray for each day and sort of brace myself that this might be the last day I have to spend with them. This has helped me live in the moment with each of them, say what I mean, and cherish every second I get to spend with them.

    Even though I feel "prepared" for that day, I know I will never completely be prepared.

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  20. sorry to hear syd :( Im sure C has plenty of phone numbers but if she wants one more she is welcome to mine :) you two will age differently bc u r in the prog. I dont look my age and im sure its bc of the prog, but it cld be genes a well.. good wishes to them and the family remaining..

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