Thursday, September 20, 2012

When there isn't a tomorrow

"The death of someone we know always reminds us that we are still alive - perhaps for some purpose which we ought to re-examine." — Mignon McLaughlin, American journalist and author

DEATH TOUCHES US all and comes to us all. Yet even with this ever-present possibility, how easy it is to go through a day distracted by busyness, assuming those we love are there — and will be at the end of the day.

Two weeks ago I attended Barbara Mack's funeral. She was a force of nature, larger than life, a star that blazed. It seems impossible that she's no longer with us. She felt unwell and decided to sleep in a recliner because she found it more comfortable. Her husband, Jim, checked on her in the night, and she seemed fine. The next morning he found her dead in the chair.

A week ago today at Consortium, a breakfast club for and about women, our speaker talked about her quintessentially Iowa life: raised by two hard-working, loving parents; attended Iowa State University where she met her husband; they married shortly after graduation. When she became pregnant, friends and family members threw her a baby shower, as we'd expect. What she didn't expect was to come home, heart happy and arms full of new, baby things, and receive a phone call notifying her that both her parents had been killed driving home from her shower.

Yesterday I received an email notifying me that a Consortium member's husband, age 55, died the night before. She was participating in a foundation board meeting when it happened, not taking calls, never imagining for a second the reason her phone kept buzzing.

And of course, we still mourn the loss of beloved Richard Logli, who fell asleep in his big recliner in the living room, and died there sometime that night. He was listening to the iPod I gave him that year for Christmas.

I should have a point here, I guess. I don't exactly. Give this one a shot: Tell the people who matter to you that you love them as often as possible, see them as often as possible, hug them as often as possible.

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