Here today; gone tomorrow

Every which way

 In a small town, everybody knows everybody.  OK, that’s not true.  We don’t know everybody.  But you know that so-and-so is related to so-and-so, and that everyone is connected and interconnected in hundreds of ways.

You don’t dare scowl about Person A because she’s darn well going to be related to the person with whom you’re confiding.

A couple of weeks ago, my near 90-year old friend shared the news.  A beloved woman in our community–a kindergarten teacher–the wife of our mailman–had unexpectedly died.

She was 52 years old, a year younger than me.

It was spring break.  She was going on a trip-in-a-lifetime with grandkids to see Disney World in Florida.  She headed for Detroit and spent the night with relatives.

She never made it to Disney World.  Never made it to shake hands with Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck and show pictures of her grandchildren screaming in delight on carousals or fancy rides.

She never woke up in Detroit before the airplane lifted off toward Florida.  She died of an unexpected brain aneurysm.

One minute you’re here.  The next minute you’re gone.

So sudden.  So unexpected.

Such a tragedy.

I met her husband at the mailbox yesterday with a handful of Easter cards headed for my own loved ones.  Expressed my sorrow.  Tried to imagine even the tiniest bit of how he might be feeling.  Tried to imagine what it would be like if my loved one was gone tomorrow.

All of us who hear this story can only do one thing.  No, we can do two things.  We can turn away from the computer and forget it within five seconds and go back to our busy lives.  Or we can be shocked into remembering the privilege of being alive, of sharing our life with loved ones, of the gifts of living on this planet.

Here today; gone tomorrow. 

So quickly life passes.

I vow to appreciate this life even more today.  Tomorrow.  The next day.  To not take it for granted.  To celebrate our precious wild beautiful lives…

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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40 Responses to Here today; gone tomorrow

  1. Dawn King says:

    Reading this at work. Glad most have already left so I don’t have to explain the tears. Hug the mailman. Appreciate your family. I’ll do the same..well..I can’t hug your mailman, but you know what I mean.

  2. Thank you for your story, Kathy. It does hit home. I’ve made this vow–often. The problem was it doesn’t stick. What to do? Print–I will cherish each moment of each day forever–and put it beside my bed, my computer, my place at the table. Hopefully, this time, it won’t be here, gone tomorrow.
    All the best

    • Kathy says:

      LeAnne, I think you’re not the only one. How many times must we keep reminding ourselves of the preciousness of life? I think one of the true gifts of friendship is that we remind each other. Over and over again. (Thanks for stopping by…it’s good to see you.)

  3. barb says:

    In an instant – a blink of an eye – I know it can be over for me. I hope I’ve loved enough to leave that important legacy when I’m gone.

    • Kathy says:

      Barb, I know you’ve realized this truth–perhaps more than most of us. I think–no, I’m sure–that you have left that important legacy. You know the preciousness of life and love.

  4. Sybil says:

    Thanks for the reminder Kathy.

    We can never be reminded enough.

    How sad for her family …

    • Kathy says:

      It is sad, Sybil. As I said above in a comment: the value of friendship is that we can all remind each other again and again and again.

  5. Susan Derozier says:

    It would seem that this is one time when living in a small community would be a blessing. My first thought was how young she was and my second was “not BEFORE her trip!” It made me grateful for my lifelong dream of a trip to Alaska 1 1/2 years ago with my daughter. It truly is a sad state for her family and I am sure the support of people like yourself means a great deal. You are so right Kathy in that each of us needs to remember that every hour is a gift to be appreciated and honored. Thank you again for reminding us of what is important. (and by the way, I honestly can’t imagine you ever scowling at anyone….)

    • Kathy says:

      I think it is a blessing, Susan, to live in a rural community. (OK, it’s a blessing and a curse at different times.) I am glad you were able to go to Alaska with your daughter. What precious memories! (As for scowling, oh yes. I can scowl. I can even get mad. Which I did the day before yesterday.)

  6. Colleen says:

    I find myself just sitting here, thinking about your mailman, about his wife about all of us and the time we have here on this planet, in this particular life. And like Barb, hoping that I’ve loved enough to leave that legagy when I’m gone……

    • Kathy says:

      As I just said to Barb, you strike me as someone who has loved enough to leave that legacy. Maybe part of the awakening is realizing that we are that love–that we don’t have to do anything–except let that love shine through us.

  7. Susan D says:

    Deeply affected and in what seems to be semi-shock. The passing of this teacher is the 4th such passing I’ve heard of within this week. 4 teachers, all 52 and younger. I thought, too, of another teacher we lost not so long ago … who never got to go anywhere with her youngest grandchildren. Another who passed at such a young age. I rail against their passings at the same time that I accept that we each have “our time.” But my heart is not quiet about these deaths. It cries out to their souls and to ours through our twisted, winding journeys that end and begin on the same road.

    • Kathy says:

      Really, Susan? Four teachers 52 and younger? Were any more from this area? Sigh…heart hurting… Your last two sentences make my heart realize that this twisting and winding journey is a journey of coming home more deeply to ourselves and realizing God or Spirit even more intimately. Thank you.

  8. holessence says:

    Our son is housesitting for us while we’re on vacation. Before we left, we showed him where our newly updated wills are. “Why in the world do you have these out?” he asked. Because you never know. You simply never know.

    • Kathy says:

      You are right,Laurie. We never know. I actually wrote a note to self about six months ago, “Should we update our wills?” but haven’t done anything about it. (I am sure your son will be glad to see you safely back at home.)

  9. Karma says:

    Aw, how tragic. And a reminder of just how precious our time here is with the ones we love.

    • Kathy says:

      Karma, I am thinking about this preciousness right now. How even something as small as a comment can make us realize that preciousness. Thank you for commenting.

  10. sonali says:

    How sad! yes, it is.
    Life is precious, its beautiful, its a biggest gift one has. Its upto us upon how we live it & what we choose. Thank you for the piece where you said, To not take life for granted. Never. 🙂

  11. Life is the most precious gift we could ever receive – I never truly understood that until I had children of my own. I hold on to it as tight as I possibly can, but still enjoy each day as it’s given to me. Some days are good, some days are a challenge. Being a mother has also made me appreciate my own parents more than ever before. I am lucky that they live fairly close, and they are extremely active in their grandsons’ lives. We can never take a moment for granted.

    • Kathy says:

      This is wise, Holly. I think our children to help us to realize this preciousness. (And YES some days are a challenge! I think the challenge is seeing the preciousness even in the midst of crying, tearing out our hair, utter frustration. Not that I’ve got this mastered…but it seems a possibility.)

  12. Elle says:

    That is so sad. I will treasure my loved ones more. Enjoy them while I can. Try to make sure they are enjoying me. And try to remember this tomorrow and the next day and all the days I have. Thank you for the reminder. Hug the mailman for me too.

  13. Osa says:

    so tender the moments.. of loss.. of change.. of new beginnings of know how to honor the present in the present…
    thank you my friend..

    • Kathy says:

      Hello sweet Osa! I love it that so many people desire this in their deepest hearts. May the presence in the present keep our hearts open. Thank you.

  14. Dearest,

    Please squeeze the hands of that mailman for me, when next you can.
    I am so glad you were there to greet him with your presence.
    You are right. I too have had a day of appreciating where I am.
    I realized, if I pray to the Divine in gratitude for all these gifts that surround me and then I begin to kvetch or bicker with one of them…then I am arguing with what the Divine has delivered.
    Considering changing my ways in that department.

    Hugs to you too. Love, S

    • Kathy says:

      Suzi, isn’t it interesting how the words “presence” and “present” are so close? Presence is the greatest present. I, too, am being more aware of when I am arguing and carrying on and bitching against the present the Divine has offered. Hugs, always!

  15. lynnekovan says:

    Thank you for sharing this experience. I have seen many people whose lives have been cut short by disease. Some hang on for a wedding or a birth, others let go before it’s really time. Some are angry at us and the world because this happened to them and cannot figure out why, others are serene and accepting. What I’ve leaned over the years is the importance of living in the moment. What I’ve also learned is how hard it is to do just that.

    • Kathy says:

      Lynne, it makes my heart SOAR to realize that so many people are actively realizing the gift of living in the moment. Yes, it’s hard sometimes. Easier, at other times. But I think that is the place where we realize who we are and the gift of our lives. Thank you!

  16. Marianne says:

    I’m so sorry to hear this news, Kathy. You are right, we never know. I’d like to join you with your vows.

  17. Brenda Hardie says:

    Oh Kathy…my heart aches at this news…even though I don’t know your friends like you do but I still hurt for their loss and for yours. I am so sorry. My son told me yesterday that a classmate of his lost his Mom this past week. She had retired but got bored and went back to work part time. On her way home from work one day, she felt a sudden and unexplainable pain…it would not go away. She went in to see the doc who ran several tests. The results came back and they called her in…she was full of cancer. She died less than 2 weeks later. She was 63 years old.
    It is good advice to take a moment when we read or hear stories like this and think about how blessed we are each and every day. And to show the people in our lives what they mean to us. Life is so short and so unpredictable, it would be wise for us to not take anyone or anything for granted.
    hugs and prayers coming your way…and for your friend as well.

    • Kathy says:

      Brenda, that is so sad. So quick! To learn the news and then die within two weeks… Not much time to wrap everything up and say “goodbye”. Our principal at school a few years ago died in much the same way, although she lasted maybe six months instead of two weeks. It was heart-breaking. Trying not to take any of this for granted–to live more heartfully every day.

      • Kathy says:

        P.S. Brenda, it’s so good to see you back. You are such a sweetheart.

        • Brenda Hardie says:

          awww thank you Kathy! I’ve missed being on here this past week..but I’m back now…the sun is shining brightly and the sky is a brilliant blue and its so warm already so I’m heading outside today with my 11 year old son and my 12 year old dog..it’s going to be a wonderful day! I hope you have a great day too…enjoying all the blessings in your life. 🙂

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