Staff writer Frank Friedlander‘s post for this week gives us a solemn reminder to value the time we have with loved ones.
So there’s this guy I know, he’s probably about three years older than I. I refer to him as “this guy I know” because he’s somewhere between a friend and an acquaintance. We used to work together about three years ago, and I haven’t really seen him since. When we worked together, we got along well, went out to lunch a few times a week and what not. Like so many other people I haven’t spoken to in years, I have him as a friend on Facebook. When I knew him, he had one child about two years old at the time; and I know that they had a second one not too long after I left the place where we worked, which I also learned through Facebook.
We’d correspond via Facebook here and there, but then about a month ago, he started posting updates about his wife’s condition; but I wasn’t quite sure what it was, something liver related. About three weeks ago, it mentioned how she was awake, and doing better. The following week, she was not doing so well, and he was waiting for the doctors to give him the grim news. I believe that it was this past Friday in which he announced, again via Facebook that she had lost her battle with Leukemia, and he would soon announce the details of the upcoming memorial services. The page was full of response of the “I’m so sorry,” “be strong,” and “let me know if there’s anything I can do” variety. I didn’t post anything because, well, what can you say in such a situation? Of course if you’re a family member or close friend, that’s one thing, but a casual acquaintance, there’s really nothing to say. Well, there are a lot of things that could be said, but I simply couldn’t bring myself to do so. I guess it’s a guy thing.
I suppose that it just makes me wonder how long they had known of this information? Surely it couldn’t have been too long, because I know him, as well as mutual acquaintances well enough that I would have heard something. More importantly, knowing that the end is coming, how do you prepare yourselves? How do you prepare your children? Of course, there’s always the big question of why? Why do these things happen? Why will these two children, whose names I don’t even know grow up without a mother? Why won’t this woman be able to watch her children grow up? Some will answer this question with “it’s all a part of God’s plan,” but I don’t buy it. While I’m not hear to debate the afterlife and the supposed frivolity of our time here on earth, there’s something to be said for being able to grow old together and watch your children grow up.
To me, what it comes down to is that we should all take the time to appreciate what we have while we have it, because nothing is forever. We’ve all heard the old cliché “happily ever after,” but it’s really not the case. Either whether it’s Cinderella or Prince Charming, one of them are bound to pass away first, leaving the other with a shoebox, or these days, a hard drive full of memories. The best-case scenario is that the box or drive is as full as it can possibly be when the time comes to tearfully sift through it alone. I’m confident that most of the people who frequent this site are familiar with the film “The Notebook,” where *spoiler alert*,* the two main characters quietly and peacefully pass away together; but in reality, when a couple do pass away at the same time, it doesn’t tend to be quietly and peacefully.
I have never been good at distancing myself with other people’s grief, whether it’s a close friend or just something that I read in the headlines; but to me, the moral of the story is that we should all do our best to live in the moment. Enjoy each other. Appreciate each other. Everyone has their little quirks that annoy the hell out of their spouse, lover, or partner; but there will come a time that you sorely miss those little quirks, and you’d give anything to be annoyed by them just one more time. So just take a break from thinking about the bills, that difficult work week ahead of you, or the big game on TV to give the most important people in your life a big hug, and tell them how much you love and appreciate them. If anyone needs me, that’s how I’ll be spending the remainder of my week.