You Just Never Know

clematis_niobeI had another post ready to go, but in light of what’s happened, that one will have to wait.

I was talking to my mom today (Sunday) when another call came on her line—my aunt with news. My uncle (my mom’s younger brother and my aunt’s older brother) had passed out in his backyard. I talked to my dad while Mom called various siblings on her cell phone to gain more information. We soon found out that my uncle had had a massive heart attack.

As soon as I hung up, I texted my younger brother and sister-in-law to let them know what was going on. My sister-in-law called five minutes later. While we talked, another call came on her line. This time, it was Mom with news no one wants to hear: my uncle had died.

My brother, sister-in-law, and I quickly drove to my aunt’s (about an hour away), where we found her in shock. She kept saying, “I can’t believe this. We just went to the doctor. He had a clean bill of health. I just can’t believe this.” Over and over.

My uncle had gone out to mow the lawn. But when my aunt didn’t hear the lawn mower, she took a look out back and saw him lying on the grass. She said he looked as if he were resting. After screaming his name, she called 911 as she tried to revive him. An ambulance arrived within five minutes. But by the time they arrived at the nearest hospital, my uncle was dead.

We’re all a bit numb now. My uncle was only eight years older than me, my mom being the oldest in her large family. And as far as we knew, he had no history of heart disease. Our only consolation is that he didn’t suffer. It all happened so quickly.

You just never know when life will throw you a curve like that. All of the silly squabbling our family has engaged in over the years seems totally foolish now. We wasted so much precious time arguing.

I wasn’t going to write anything, because my heart is heavy right now. But I felt like I had to write this post to say that life is too short for petty arguments or misunderstandings people are too stubborn or prideful to clear up. At a funeral, you can’t clear those things up. It’s too late then.

There’s no guarantee that tomorrow is yours to have. But you have today. And today, you can do a lot to make amends, to tell someone you love him or her. Please don’t assume you have all the time in the world. I made that assumption in regard to my uncle. And now I have his funeral to attend.

Clematis from botanicalgarden.ubc.ca.

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46 thoughts on “You Just Never Know

  1. I’m so sorry, Linda. Having just lost my dad, I know there isn’t much I can say other than I’m sending my best love.

    And also … What resonated with me after losing Dad was that every passing is a reminder to us to live life as vibrantly as we can.

    xx xx

  2. I’m so sorry this has happened. *hugs* I had an uncle pass away under very similar circumstances while the family were on holiday. I wasn’t as close to him as it seems you were to your uncle, but it still threw us completely.

  3. My wife works for a funeral business, and also collects deceased for the coroner, so her everyday experiences reinforces the same message to me.
    Sorry for your loss Linda x

      • She is not exactly hardened to it now, that would be the wrong word, but she has become a little accustomed to it-different situations, dealing with differing reactions of those grieving. She deals with the murdered and those who have committed suicide, and still gets affected, as a parent, with the many children that she has to pick up. But she never brings it home with her. Not everybody could do that job I guess.

      • She’s a remarkable woman, Andy. People in that profession seem to have amazing calm. I was thinking about that the other day while at the funeral home, where two funerals took place on the same day. Everyone was so gracious.

  4. I’m so sorry to hear about your uncle, Linda. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
    I’m happy that you decided to write about this. We all need a reminder that each day is a gift. When a loved one dies unexpectedly it’s a wake up call to treat each other with love and respect and not to let disagreements come between you. xoxo

  5. It’s so tragically unfortunate that a death is the time that so many of us stop to evaluate what’s really important. I’m so sorry for your sudden loss. Thank you for the important reminder to live our best lives today.

  6. I’m sorry about your loss. That’s a banal thing to write in light of what your family is going through, but profunity is difficult in comments threads. Suffice to say I’ll be thinking of you and that you managed to deliver a powerful message despite your grief.

    • Thank you, Eric. Writing that post was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. And now as I answer the comments (and I’m grateful for them), I find myself struggling to even do that much. But I appreciate the thoughts.

  7. Oh no, Linda! I am so saddened for your loss. What a difficult time for you and your family. I can understand why you are all numb since he was in good health and it was so unexpected. The shock of it all. Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. You are right to remind us how precious life truly is.

    I will be thinking about you and sending you many tight hugs. xoxo 😦

  8. My condolences to you and your family. Such a shock to have your uncle die at a young age. Thank you for reminding us how unpredictable life is. As you said: “There’s no guarantee that tomorrow is yours to have. But you have today.”

    • Thanks, Andra. I really appreciate that. I worry most about my mom, my aunt, and my cousin. They’re trying to be strong. Sigh. I’m not looking forward to this weekend.

  9. Every day I try to hug and smile. There is no other way, is there, Linda? So sorry for the shock to you and your family. I bet there are some good memories to look back on. Hugs!

    • Thank you, Lyn. It’s been a tough week. I’m working to meet my two deadlines before my mom and brother arrive for the visitation and funeral this weekend. But concentrating has been difficult.

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