Sometimes, Storms Come

Last week started off like a gentle breeze literally and metaphorically. The temperature was warm and inviting. I had a lovely time with Kate Hosford on the blog. (In case you missed that post, you can read it here.) And I read a beautiful post by Penny over at her Life on the Cutoff blog. The photos of colorful flowers paired with a poem by Robert Frost made a powerful and uplifting combination. (You can read that post here.)

   

My birthday happened midweek. I spent much of the day in a windowless room without wifi. I’ll say more on the why of that in August probably. I can’t discuss it now. In celebration of the day, a friend gave me flowers (below) and a ton of my favorite tea.

Inspired by Penny’s post, I went in search of flowers to photograph, but found many of them windblown and defeated looking.

   

The gentle breeze earlier in the week had turned cold and dreary, thanks to the relentless rainstorms that shoved their way into the area. Fitting weather for the events ending the week. First, a friend texted me to say that her mammogram resulted in the need for a biopsy of “something suspicious.” And then my sister-in-law texted to announce that her mother had been rushed to the hospital.

It doesn’t look good, she wrote. Less than half an hour later, I heard back from her: She’s gone.

Yes, sometimes, storms come.

Even if a loved one has reached old age after living many years in poor health, you still aren’t ready for that person to leave. But after taking turns with my brother to desperately give her mother CPR (no response) until the paramedics came (still no response) and watching the medical team at the hospital try to rouse her mother (no response), my sister-in-law reluctantly let go.

So that was the week—a grim reminder of the cycle of life: birth and death.

On Saturday, the friend who learned of her need for a biopsy handed me this hyacinth:

A reminder that though storms sometimes come, life goes on.

Speaking of life going on, thanks to the random number generator, Lyn Miller-Lachmann, you can expect a copy of How the Queen Found the Perfect Cup of Tea to come your way. Please comment below to confirm.

Photos by L. Marie (except for the author photo). The paintings in the background of one photo were painted by Rick Smith. Copyright © 2016 Rick Smith.

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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.