Friday, 24 October 2014

Sudden and Unexpected

It’s amazing how often those three words are used together and most often when speaking of the passing of a friend or loved one. Sudden and unexpected, with no warning, with no chance to prepare or say goodbye.

A man I knew of, more than knew, died last night. He went out for coffee with his buddies and collapsed getting into his truck. Efforts were made but they were unable to revive him. He was 52 years old.

I know exactly what that feels like as I’ve been through it twice.

My father had a fatal heart attack when playing tennis. And my ex-husband died after a cardiac arrest when playing hockey. They were 65 and 52 years old respectively. Prime of life, as was this man last night, with a wife, kids and grandkids left to make some sense of it all.

I met this man off and on over the last nine years, though; because of his quiet nature I probably never had a real conversation with him. He and his wife were my daughter’s ex-in-laws. Very nice people who never forgot she was part of the family, and never forgot they were grandparents to her three kids.

This loss will be devastating to those kids. They have had too many losses already in their short lives. My heart goes out to my daughter who had the difficult task today of telling her kids their beloved Poppa is gone.

Her young son, six years old, had many questions. And isn’t it telling of the kind of kid he is that one of his concerns is that Nana will be alone now. Breaks your heart doesn’t it?

There will be many questions, and anger, as that is a stage of grief, before the formalities of a funeral are completed. I’ve always thought, especially in the case of my father, that sudden was better. My Dad was not a man who would have accepted or tolerated being sick or disabled. He had trouble adjusting to his decreased skill in tennis and golf, let alone an ongoing infirmity.

My ex-husband, though his death was sudden, had a known heart ailment having had a triple bypass ten years previous. He was fit and active and doing all the right things and yet....

I can’t help but think of that band aid thing, if it’s ripped it off all at once, the pain is a shock but over quickly, or do you ease it off, a bit at a time, an ongoing pain but to a lesser degree over a longer period of time. The end result is the same, once that band-aid is off you’re still left with a wound that will heal with time, but with a scar, the memory of what happened.

I’m glad the kids have a recent, happy memory of Thanksgiving with their Nana and Poppa, little did they know it would be their last.

My sincere sympathies to the family, he was a loving husband, father, grandfather and friend, and he will be sorely missed.

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