There are things that happen in all of our lives that are just so painful! There’s nothing you can do at those times but grieve. This is a very personal blog post for me to write. I’m writing it to honor someone who I’ve always loved very much! I’m, also, writing it in hopes that it will touch your hearts, and help you to realize the importance of celebrating each and every wonderful moment of life that you share with your loved ones. None of us know how many moments we — or our loved ones — have.
This last Wednesday morning started out like so many mornings before it. My husband and I took our dog for a walk on a hill near the ocean. It was a beautiful morning! Everything seemed to be right with our world. We had breakfast and then drove downtown to run some errands. It was just an ordinary day.
We went to our public library, and once inside we went off in two different directions. I picked out a couple books, and walked over to check them out, when all of the sudden I heard my husband call my name. Our ordinary day vanished in an instant! I immediately knew from the sound of his voice, and then the look on his face, that something really bad had happened. He told me that our niece, Laurie, had just called his cell, and told him that her brother, Michael, was in the hospital on life support.
We went home as quickly as we could, threw some clothes in a bag, and took off for the hospital, a couple hours away. It was such a sad, painful car ride! When we got to the hospital, much of the family was there. There was so little we could say, and nothing we could do.
Michael didn’t make it. He had been ill for just a short time, and then suddenly grew much worse. By the time they could get him to the hospital, it was too late. His body was already shutting down. He was only 45 years old, a devoted husband, and the father of two teenage boys. He was the most amazing young man, and he died much too soon!
When I married into this large, wonderful family, Michael was just a baby. I watched him grow into a sturdy little boy, then a busy, popular teenager, and finally into a loving, grown-up man. He married Kerry, his high school sweetheart, and later became the father to two baby boys, Austin and Derek. He was a hands-on dad, a wonderful father, who was very proud of his sons! He had so many personal roles, and he put his heart into each one! He was a husband, a father, a son, a brother, an uncle, a nephew, a cousin, a son-in-law, and a friend to so, so many. He and his wife loved throwing parties for friends and family, and their home was the gathering place during the good times of celebration, and the sad times of mourning.
The last time that I saw him was for a family celebration of his parents’ 50th wedding anniversary, in July. He seemed tired, but he was just as loving as ever. When it was time to go, I gave him a big hug and said, “I love you, Michael.” I’m so glad I did! I didn’t know then that it would be the last hug we would share.
Everyone who knew him loved him. He was just that kind of person. He was a very good man. Our hearts are broken, and we need time to grieve. In time, the memories will bring comfort, but right now they bring pain.
I write in this blog so often about the power that we each have to focus on the positive, rather than the negative, and the benefit of counting our blessings, but there are times when the pain is just too new and too raw. For those of us who loved Michael, all we can do is come together in our love and our sorrow, to share our hearts with each other, and to encircle one another with with caring arms.
I’ve written this post as a tribute to Michael, to his goodness, to his love. “Michael, you are so missed!”
If your loved one is nearby, go over and give the biggest hug you have! Tell him, or her, how much you care. If they’re far away, pick up the phone, write a letter, send a text, plan a trip. Don’t let these precious moments go by with unspoken words of love! Life truly can change in an instant!
So many of us wish we could once more be wrapped in one of Michael’s big bear hugs.
“We love you, Michael!”
Until next time,