A friend of mine passed away last Sunday.
My mom called early that morning. I was painting our mudroom. She said that our friend’s husband, Charlie, was working on his house and had a heart attack. He was in the hospital. She didn’t know much else, but told me to keep him in my prayers.
I prayed. My uncle had had a heart attack in his thirties. My grandmother, too, in her fifties. Both survived. Charlie was young and in great shape. I remained positive and continued working.
Around lunchtime, Evan and I met up with my brother to play some hockey. We skated around the rink, practicing our puck handling and shooting. Cory was sweeping the rink when he received a call. He waved me over.
“Charlie?” I asked. Cory wordlessly handed me his cell phone.
It was my mom. She was in tears. She didn’t have to say anything — I already knew. I was in disbelief. Numb.
Charlie was the husband of a woman who I’ve known my entire life, Cita. She is my godfather’s daughter. Cita is the older sister that I’ve never had. I looked up to her, idolized her, and wished that one day, I’d grow up to be just like her. I still feel that way. I love her and her family in more ways than I can fully express.
And now she’s hurting. She’s lost someone who meant the whole world to her, and more.
What do you say? What do you do? How do you explain something that you don’t even understand yourself?
I couldn’t sleep last night. I fought it at first, tossing and turning in desperation to fall asleep. Work and the daily accumulation of obligations kept piling up in my head. I felt oppressed by them all. Even something as simple as a conference call and a dinner party caused me more undue stress that it logically should.
Suddenly, Evan’s feet stirred. I glanced over at him. And I burst out crying.
I suddenly felt remorseful. I thought, why should I be sitting here, fretting needlessly about work, about weekend visits, about weddings and graduations? I have my husband. I have a home. We both have great jobs and fantastic families. Why is it that I feel this way?