It’s easy to forget how fragile life really is until you’re faced with the reality that it does end. I rarely discuss personal things on this blog, but I’m making an exception today.
Yesterday I received an email from a childhood friend telling me that her dad is nearing the end of his life. While I knew he hadn’t been well, I was shocked to learn that he had deteriorated so rapidly and that the end was near. It broke my heart. Not only for the pain she was feeling, but also because he is so young. When she and I were spending most of our free time together as kids, I remember her dad as a quiet, serious man who listened to a lot of bluegrass music and spent time in his office. Naturally, he is more than that, but as a kid you see things differently. While I don’t know his exact age, I do know that she’s too young to lose a parent and he’s too young to go. But is anyone really “old enough” to die? I don’t think so.
A few years ago, I dealt with a similar situation with another good friend. After spending a fun weekend at our house, she was on her way back home when she received a call from her mother informing her that her dad wasn’t well. Unfortunately, the signs of his deterioration had probably been going on for a while, but no one noticed. The news was bad; he had brain cancer and wasn’t going to get any better. About six weeks later he was gone. I was in the car driving to see her when she called asking when I’d arrive because her dad had died that morning and she needed me. A couple of hours later I was there and we spent the weekend dealing with the situation. I felt helpless, as I do now, but glad I could be a shoulder to lean on and an ear to listen.
I guess the reason this hits me so hard is that I have been dealing with my own father’s illness for the past several months. While his prognosis is very, very positive, it’s just a sobering reminder that life is to be cherished every day. I love my dad dearly and hope he knows that even if I don’t talk to him as often as I should. Yes, we drive each other crazy (probably because we are very much alike), but he’s my dad and I love him.
Life is fragile. Treat it with care. Take time today to tell the special people in your life that you love them. I know I will.