Friday, September 28, 2018

Like sands through the hourglass...

So, as my last couple of entries illustrated, 2018 has not been a good year so far. If I weren’t already aware of my mortality, that concept has been getting hammered home this year. First there was my friend Ed, followed a mere 3 days later by my beautiful and amazing cousin Jennifer. The trio (death comes in threes, right?) was rounded out by my wife’s lifelong best friend Diane less than two weeks later.
For this entry I must refer back to Ed. I was actually friends with Ed by proxy through his wife Donna. She and I worked together at Shop Rite and she befriended me when my ex-wife and I split (i.e. she offered a shoulder). Then we formed a bowling team with our co-workers, and that was the start of a 20+ year friendship. I started hanging out with her and her family quite often, and when we lost a bowler on our team, we coaxed Ed into joining. Ed had unofficially retired his bowling shoes but he begrudgingly said he would join us. We quickly found out we had created a monster, but that’s a story for another time.
Anyway, over the years we had become a part of each other’s families. Parties, holidays, day trips, etc. I love the Cooks. So it broke my heart to lose Ed. Not even so much for me, but because I knew how much of a hole his passing left in the lives of his kids, Kara and Sean, and especially his wife Donna. He was the yin to her yang. In recent years our lives have gone in different directions, but we stayed in contact and I knew the last 4 months have been a stressful time for the family. Donna was frustrated that her new granddaughter was 3000 miles away, but she has been looking forward to following through on the family’s plan to move out to Spokane to be with her son and granddaughter. However, the stress of losing her husband of 38 years and having to deal with settling his affairs, along with having to get the house packed up while going through his things was taking a toll. Donna is a very upbeat extrovert and a people-pleaser; sometimes at the expense of her own well-being.
Her beautiful daughter Kara is a socially anxious introvert who rarely, if ever, calls anyone on the phone.
Where am I going with all this?
Tuesday, September 25
7:49 a.m. the phone rings. I’m sleeping and I think it’s my alarm (not yet having the awareness to realize it’s my day off and the alarm isn’t set). I can’t find the snooze/off buttons, but it finally stops.
7:50 a.m. the phone rings again, and this time I realize it. It’s Kara.
Why is Kara calling me?
Something’s happened. Donna must have fallen or gotten hurt somehow.
I wish.
A nearly hysterical and obviously in shock woman whom I love like my own family informs me that her mom had passed away in her sleep.
No words. I must be dreaming. Kara calling? Donna dying? This can’t be real! Ed just passed 4 months ago almost to the day!
It’s real.
A woman who I once considered my best friend is gone. I feel terrible that I didn’t make more of an effort to stop by and say hi once in a while. In the course of my job, I practically pass right by her house every Thursday and Saturday. But I never stopped by. I didn’t want to make my days longer than they already are. I figured there would be plenty of time to get together.
My heart is breaking right now, but not so much for me. As I said, our friendship had waned a bit in recent years.
No, my heart breaks for Sean and especially Kara for getting a pile of shit dumped in their laps in the span of 4 months. Much like my cousin Jennifer and her mom Maureen, Kara and Donna were best friends. We always joked that Donna never “cut the cord.” This creates a huge void in Kara’s life. For the most part, they have been a part of each other’s day-to-day lives for Kara’s entire life.
Now she is forced to embark on a new chapter in her life (a chapter which included Donna) without her best friend.
I miss Ed. I miss Donna.
I also miss Sean, who moved out to Spokane 4 years ago. And I’m going to miss Kara, who left yesterday.
I am so glad I stopped by and got to see her and give her a big hug before she left. That’s one less regret I’ll have.
And that’s really the whole point of this post.
Don’t put off seeing friends and family if you can avoid it. Stay in touch, see each other, hug each other. Don’t assume there’s plenty of time.
Oh, and by the way, Sharon and I got married less than 16 months ago. It was a very small wedding at our house. Not counting children, there were less than 30 people that attended.
4 of those people are no longer with us. Donna, at only 62, was the oldest of the 4.
Like that old soap opera said every day, “like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.”

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