Is it Still 2013?

It seems as if the year 2013 is determined to beat me into submission or something. I’ve been lucky thus far in my life as far as my nuclear family being still all here and alive. We’ve had a couple of health scares with my parents in the last twelve months including two strokes (one kind of big and one small) for my mom and a quadruple bypass for my dad that doesn’t seem to have worked and now he has to have another procedure but they are both still alive and active and I’m blessed in that way.

Sadly, this has been a year of death for friends though. My dear friends have lost family members and some way too soon. One was a seven year old and one was forty-eight. The other lawyer in my office passed away at age sixty-three. I truly have had my share of funerals and sadness this year. My heart hurts for these families who are dear to me and I wish there was some comfort for them. So much of their heartache comes from the suddenness and inexplicableness of these losses.

The most recent one was from a bee sting. One sting was all that was found on his arm but he went into a coma about ten minutes after it happened and never regained consciousness. One minute, he was working in the yard and ten minutes later, he was non-responsive and effectively brain dead by about twenty minutes later.

This hit me hard. You know, you always hear that there are no guarantees of tomorrow and we kind of just gloss past that old adage but for some reason (and maybe it’s because I’ve known this person since I was 11 and he was 7) this one really hit home for me. I can’t seem to shake it off. One minute you’re here and loving life and the next, BAM, it’s over. No more playing with the kids, no more tinkering with your old truck, no more talking to your mom or sister and no more laughter.

I admire that he was an organ donor and others are being helped as a result of his gift but I know he’s going to be so missed here. He was always so full of personality and fun. From this loss, I’m taking on a new appreciation of the people I love, what I have in my life that’s good and how short our time really is here on Earth.

Hold your loved ones close and laugh with them as much as you can. Suck every second of joy you can out of your life. I love all you guys on this blog and hope you all know that. When my life is done, I sincerely hope that my loved ones and friends (same thing, right?) realize that I tried (even if sometimes I’m a grouch) to make my life one of thankfulness. I may not be perfect but like my friend who had such an outpouring of love at his funeral, I hope that my efforts to make this world just a tinier bit brighter won’t fail. His didn’t. He will live on in memory as someone who always brought joy with him into the room. Would that we all could leave such a legacy, right?

12 responses to “Is it Still 2013?

  1. Making life “one of thankfulness”. I like that. And I’m not sure I do it enough. Lately, though, like you, I have been so grateful for these moments I have with family and friends. I am smiling as I think of some of these good times. So thanks for the reminder.
    On a side note, though, I also think the reminder about how deadly a bee allergy can be is important. It’s as bad as nut allergies, proven once again, sadly, by the loss of your friend. I am afraid of bees, but have no allergies. Still, anytime the grandkids or anyone gets stung, I am immediately watchful. Thankfully, that hasn’t been happening regularly or I’d be a googly-eyed old Gramma. lol
    Have a wonderful day, my friend.

    • I’m not sure I do it enough either, Laurie but I’m going to try harder to make a point of it. You did just have a wonderful experience with your girls and I’m glad you got that time with them.

      Yeah, Bees can be deadly. He went into cardiac arrest and even though they gave him three doses of epi in the ambulance and in the hospital, it was too late. Keep your eyes on those kids and even the adults.

      Have a good day too!

  2. I think losing friends and family comes with age but it’s hard to see young people. And, yes family and friends health is a blessing and one I try to remember each morning and wellll all day. I think of people in their nineties and I don’t want to be the last one standing.

    A woman I used to work with passed away last month from and wasp sting. Same exact thing as your friend. Scary!

    • I agree about the losses, Lavada. It somehow seems easier to take when the person is older, isn’t it? And yeah, being the last one standing isn’t what I want either.

      Sorry to hear about your friend, too. What tragedies.

  3. I’m so sorry to hear about your friend, Jillian. What an awful shock for you and the rest of his loved ones. I hadn’t realized stings (bee and wasp) could be life threatening, so this is a sobering thought. And thank you for the reminder to make life one of thankfulness. Beautiful.

    Your post reminded me of a lovely quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson: “… to know even one life breathed easier because you lived…” I love that and it makes me strive to be a better and useful person to all the people in my life.

    Cyber hugs heading your way…

  4. Valerie J. Patterson

    Jillian, I offer my sincerest condolences on the loss of your friend as well as the other losses you’ve experienced of late. Death has a way of creeping softly amongst us and snatching loved ones away. Reading your post, I was reminded of November 2000 through November 2001. This was a tragic year for my husband and I. November 19th we lost my godmother. November 25th we lost two of my cousins. February 21st we lost his mother. February 23rd we lost his paternal grandfather before the funeral for his mother. May 21st we lost his cousin. May 23rd we lost his maternal grandfather before the funeral for his cousin. November 21st we lost my father. In a year’s time we’d lost 2 parents and 2 grandparents and 4 family members. I was never so happy to see a year end! Our lives have never been the same. One of the things losing my dad has taught me: Live life daily. Tomorrow is not a promise, but today is a present meant to be opened and enjoyed. I’m not always successful at this, but I try, and trying is what’s important. Remember your friend, and all he contributed to your life. He was a blessing while he was here. God, in His infinite wisdom blessed you by placing you on this earth at the same time as your friend. What a great and awesome gift!!!! You’re a remarkable woman. I’m certain your family rejoices in the blessing you are to them. 😛

    • Thanks Valerie – your words mean the world to me. That’s so nice.

      As to your year of death-wow. Yeah. That’s a lot. I know you were blessed to have all those folks in your life for the time they were here. And I’m sure they were all grateful for their time with you as well.

      I’m hanging in there. Sadly, after I posted this post, another death occurred. It seems to never end.

  5. I am so sorry to about your friend, so tragic. I learned many years ago following the sudden death of my brother-in-law aged 40, that life can be taken away in a moment and to treasure every second we have with our loved ones and friends. Seems 2013 is a year you will want to be over and forget. Something good will come along soon, I’m sure, to help heal the loss. Meanwhile, I think a group hug is in order. 🙂

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