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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Show Your Love

In the timeline of dates that have changed my life, this day eight years ago ranks in the top five. It started out as all life-changing days do, bright, sunny--it was the perfect restful Sunday morning. 

And then the phone rang. 


It was a landline phone back then, big and yellow and ugly. I'm not sure why I remember that, but I do. My mom was at the stove making Sunday morning brunch at the time--I don't remember what we'd been talking about but we were laughing, joking about something when I picked up the phone. My grandma was on the other end of the line and I knew from the first word she spoke that something was off. "'Ello ma belle," I remember her saying, "can I talk to your mother?" I had this niggling at the back of my neck as I relayed the message to my mom and I vividly remember her good-natured complaint that she'd burn our baked beans if Grandma kept her on the phone too long. 

We never ate those baked beans. Grandma was calling to tell us that my Uncle R had been in a car accident and we needed to come to the hospital right away. The hospital he was being treated was in New Hampshire and, at the time, my mom and I lived in northern Vermont so we had a two hour drive ahead of us. I don't remember much of it except that the family friend who was driving us tried his best to make us laugh. 

It was too late though because the doctor announced in a very clinical and detached voice later that night that my uncle had been transported to the hospital completely brain dead and had only been kept on life support for the sake of his organs which were waiting to be donated. I'm sure he must have said other things too, like how sorry he was and how they had tried their best, but all I remember is my mother grasping my hand like a lifeline and my cousin burying her head into her boyfriend's shoulder, sobbing. In that moment, I felt so empty, so hopeless, so....numb. 

It's been eight years since that moment and most of the time I try to forget that day--the day I lost a man who was the closest thing to a dad to me for thirteen years of my life.  I try to forget his hugs--those big giant bear hugs that made you feel like you were the only person in the world. And his laugh that could brighten the whole room with one jolly peal. I try to forget the times he used lobster antennae as puppets for a dumb joke that made us laugh or the times he'd play tag with all of us kids and always let us win. I try to forget because being numb with forgetfulness is so much easier than the hurt that comes with remembering. Every time the end of October comes around, I pretty much wish the days away, close my eyes, and pretend it's November already. After all, isn't denial the best salve for grief?

I'm not telling all of you this for sympathy--I had every intention of posting something upbeat and fun today, but this past weekend changed my mind. One of Zach's work buddies (I'll call him Sgt W) got his own phone call on Saturday--telling him that his father had been killed in a motorcycle/car collision. The whole company rallied around Sgt W--everyone pitching in money for a plane ticket to fly him home, giving condolences and sympathy. I couldn't help but remember what that felt like--to be on the receiving end during a time of grief. Turning over in your mind all of the things you could have done differently, if you had said 'I love you' to that person one last time. I cried a little--for the loss of my uncle eight years ago and the loss that Sgt W and his family were dealing with right at that moment. 

It reminded me again just how fleeting life is. 

I guess what I'm trying to say through this long meandering and probably confusing post is to make the most of the time you have with your loved ones. If there's anything I've learned from loss is that life is short. 
Overuse the words 'I love you'. Say those three little words as often as you can.
Patch up your differences quickly because they're not worth a lifetime of regret.
Don't end a conversation in anger. You never know if that conversation will be the last. 
Always remember that we are blessed with every day we have. 
Pray for the families and friends of those who have lost a loved one--grief never really goes away, it just fades a little over time. 
Never ever take the ones you love for granted. 
I know this isn't the post you were expecting for Halloween, but it is the post I felt I needed to write. I hope that it's made you reflect, even for a moment, about those you love. Even more so, I hope that after reading this, you'll give a few more hugs and pick up the phone a few more times just to say 'I love you'. I wish I would have. 
In Loving Memory of 
Rene Armand Cote
1963-2005
You are missed.

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Post a Comment

Your comments warm my heart!! Leave one for me and I PROMISE to email you back (unless you're a no-reply blogger in which case please fix that)!!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Show Your Love

In the timeline of dates that have changed my life, this day eight years ago ranks in the top five. It started out as all life-changing days do, bright, sunny--it was the perfect restful Sunday morning. 

And then the phone rang. 


It was a landline phone back then, big and yellow and ugly. I'm not sure why I remember that, but I do. My mom was at the stove making Sunday morning brunch at the time--I don't remember what we'd been talking about but we were laughing, joking about something when I picked up the phone. My grandma was on the other end of the line and I knew from the first word she spoke that something was off. "'Ello ma belle," I remember her saying, "can I talk to your mother?" I had this niggling at the back of my neck as I relayed the message to my mom and I vividly remember her good-natured complaint that she'd burn our baked beans if Grandma kept her on the phone too long. 

We never ate those baked beans. Grandma was calling to tell us that my Uncle R had been in a car accident and we needed to come to the hospital right away. The hospital he was being treated was in New Hampshire and, at the time, my mom and I lived in northern Vermont so we had a two hour drive ahead of us. I don't remember much of it except that the family friend who was driving us tried his best to make us laugh. 

It was too late though because the doctor announced in a very clinical and detached voice later that night that my uncle had been transported to the hospital completely brain dead and had only been kept on life support for the sake of his organs which were waiting to be donated. I'm sure he must have said other things too, like how sorry he was and how they had tried their best, but all I remember is my mother grasping my hand like a lifeline and my cousin burying her head into her boyfriend's shoulder, sobbing. In that moment, I felt so empty, so hopeless, so....numb. 

It's been eight years since that moment and most of the time I try to forget that day--the day I lost a man who was the closest thing to a dad to me for thirteen years of my life.  I try to forget his hugs--those big giant bear hugs that made you feel like you were the only person in the world. And his laugh that could brighten the whole room with one jolly peal. I try to forget the times he used lobster antennae as puppets for a dumb joke that made us laugh or the times he'd play tag with all of us kids and always let us win. I try to forget because being numb with forgetfulness is so much easier than the hurt that comes with remembering. Every time the end of October comes around, I pretty much wish the days away, close my eyes, and pretend it's November already. After all, isn't denial the best salve for grief?

I'm not telling all of you this for sympathy--I had every intention of posting something upbeat and fun today, but this past weekend changed my mind. One of Zach's work buddies (I'll call him Sgt W) got his own phone call on Saturday--telling him that his father had been killed in a motorcycle/car collision. The whole company rallied around Sgt W--everyone pitching in money for a plane ticket to fly him home, giving condolences and sympathy. I couldn't help but remember what that felt like--to be on the receiving end during a time of grief. Turning over in your mind all of the things you could have done differently, if you had said 'I love you' to that person one last time. I cried a little--for the loss of my uncle eight years ago and the loss that Sgt W and his family were dealing with right at that moment. 

It reminded me again just how fleeting life is. 

I guess what I'm trying to say through this long meandering and probably confusing post is to make the most of the time you have with your loved ones. If there's anything I've learned from loss is that life is short. 
Overuse the words 'I love you'. Say those three little words as often as you can.
Patch up your differences quickly because they're not worth a lifetime of regret.
Don't end a conversation in anger. You never know if that conversation will be the last. 
Always remember that we are blessed with every day we have. 
Pray for the families and friends of those who have lost a loved one--grief never really goes away, it just fades a little over time. 
Never ever take the ones you love for granted. 
I know this isn't the post you were expecting for Halloween, but it is the post I felt I needed to write. I hope that it's made you reflect, even for a moment, about those you love. Even more so, I hope that after reading this, you'll give a few more hugs and pick up the phone a few more times just to say 'I love you'. I wish I would have. 
In Loving Memory of 
Rene Armand Cote
1963-2005
You are missed.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comments warm my heart!! Leave one for me and I PROMISE to email you back (unless you're a no-reply blogger in which case please fix that)!!