I've realized today that the scariest part about death is that we are not in control of it. Just when you think you've figured out when it will strike or that you are exempt from it, it proves you wrong.
Last year, I lost my father. He was only 55, but was a diabetic amputee with a rare blood clotting disorder, among other things. Doctors weren't hopeful that he would survive a year after his quadruple bipass surgery and amputation, in fact, they gave him a 5% chance. But he made it another year and seemed to be getting better. Even though he was very much a shadow of his former self, he managed to maintain some dignity and very necessary freedom by riding the county roads on his new moped he traded in his prized Harley for. One Sunday, right around Easter, it was unseasonably warm, and he joyfully seized the opportunity to go out putting around and visiting friends. He made it to their house only to find they weren't home, and so he turned and headed for the 25 mile return home. He hit an uneven patch of gravel and fell, cracking his skull above his right eye. He called his brother to take him home, insisting he didn't need medical attention, and by the time my mom got home from her 12-hour shift, he was dumping his pain meds on the floor and talking out of his head. Later that night he slipped out of a consciousness he would never again return to.
He was getting better. He had beaten death. Defied the odds. And he died of something else.
This man was a daredevil. He dirt-biked and broke his bones. He built his own gyrocopter and landed it successfully during three engine-outs, including one very impressive landing in someone's backyard barbecue. He was ran off the road by renegade semis while seated in his chromed-out Harley Davidson and he was ultimately bested by a moped that struggled to attain 45. It still seems like a cruel joke.
My father and I had a strained relationship. He, I now believe, struggled with borderline personality disorder -- as do I -- and I felt I was always walking on eggshells around him. I know he loved me, but I had a hard time feeling it sometimes. I knew that if something ever happened to him I would be sad, but I had no idea just how much it would affect me when he died. I felt like I had lost the chance to finally make him proud of me. I would never be able to resolve our problems. I wasn't sure if he really knew how much I loved him and how much I looked up to him. I wanted him to know, but never knew how to tell him in a way I thought he would believe. There were just so many things that needed to be said and needed to be done, and they would never be able to happen. My mom was left with similar scars and we both struggle with them a year and a half later.
After I lost my dad I became extremely close with my mother. Mom has helped me survive my chaotic life, both emotionally and financially. She is my life preserver, and for that, I am forever in her debt. There have been so many days that I don't feel like anyone cares except my mom, and I've often told my husband that I might cease to exist if something ever happened to my mother. In fact, I plan to move her in with us when she gets older. I plan to take care of her as soon as I'm financially able. I am going to make sure that nothing ever hurts her. I feel like dad would want me to look out for her in his absence. I can almost feel him telling me this.
Every once and a while, the thought of something happening to her plagues me, and she always says something to the effect of "Aww" and "I'm healthy as a horse, don't worry about me." But last night something devastating happened to reminded me that no matter how safe you think you are, you are only a breath and a circumstance away from being dead. Any of us could be.
Today our whole family was supposed to go visit my aunt Lauri in Indianapolis and celebrate her recent ordination into chaplaincy. She has worked towards this for many years and today was the day it was all official. My mom was initially going to stay with her the night before as she usually does, but this time her best friend wanted to come along and they stayed up in Kendallville at my mom's place instead. If my mom's friend had not decided to stay with her, my mom would have went down to Indy and crashed in my aunt's guestroom above their garage. She would not be having a peaceful night's rest. She would more than likely have died. You see, my aunt Lauri lives on Fieldfare Way, in the house directly across from the one that happened to blow up for some unknown reason. Today, Fieldfare Way is plastered on all the global news circuits, everything from the blackened crater across the street to my aunt's totaled cars in the driveway and the house blown off its foundation. The guestroom she would have stayed in? Blown in. The garage door? Inside the garage.
Today, I could have been an orphan. If it hadn't been for mom's best friend. For circumstance. Perhaps for God, I don't know. Two people did die, though. Two people weren't as lucky. One of their neighbors tried desperately to pull a guy out from his burning ba
My family is safe because they were sleeping in rooms that were not facing the blast. They have no home anymore -- it is being condemned as I write this. No cars -- they are borrowing my mom's spare. But they are alive.
I'm watching the news footage again on to 10 o'clock news right now. And I cry and cry and cry.
Last year, my husband was in a bad car accident. He was rear-ended at a stoplight by a bitch who was texting. She smashed in the trunk of our brand new Elantra and pushed him underneath the Jeep in front of him. Car was totaled, but he made it out with only minor injuries. He just got out of rehab last week. It's been almost a year. It could have been so much worse. If he still had his Firebird, if we didn't trade it in for the more fuel-efficient vehicle which, lucky for us, happened to be named one of the safest vehicles produced in 2012... my husband and father of my child may not be here. We might never have gotten married this past September. And if yesterday had gone any differently, I might not have my mother.
These two people and my 2-year-old daughter are my world. I almost had 2 of the 3 most important people in my life yanked away. How do you make it past something like that? One of my best friends lost one of her friends in a car accident at the end of the summer. His wife survived, but her children almost died in the accident too. I didn't know the girl, but I cried and prayed for her because I couldn't imagine what she was going through. I was sure I couldn't live if something like that happened to me.
And it can totally happen to me. Or anyone. Death is only a breath and a circumstance away. We don't know our times or even what our purposes are while we are blessed with life on Earth. Just like that, it can be revoked. Just like that, your story can end. And, just like that, you could be alone.
I am so afraid.
My mood: very scared
Previous Posts#indyboom, posted November 11th, 2012
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