Living on Borrowed Time

On Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 12:46am, my Dad passed away.  He was 63 years old.  First, my brother called and left a message (I fell asleep and didn’t hear the phone,) then at 4:07am (my time,) I heard the news from my Mom.  I felt numb when I heard the news.  I thought maybe I heard wrong, because there’s no way my Dad could be dead  Growing up, you have this belief, or at least I did, that our parents were immortal.  They were the ONLY people on Earth who would live forever.  Am I the only one who thought this as a kid?  As an adult?  It just didn’t make sense. 

I guess I should start from the beginning.  On May 24, 2012, our lives changed forever.  My Dad was working, tried to take a drink of water and couldn’t swallow.  He pulled over, called 911 and was taken to the hospital.  What turned out to be a small concern ended up being a stroke.  He was in the hospital for about 6 weeks and it was a whirlwind of events.   My parents and brother live in NY, I live in Canada with my family and I wasn’t able to be there to help.  You can’t imagine the level of guilt that I felt every day.  I realize that it’s not my fault, but, I wanted to be there and couldn’t.  Nothing that anyone will say will take away that guilt.  Anyhow, despite a few setbacks, he was improving and getting back to his normal self.  Just 5 days prior, the boys and I saw him on Skype and he looked really good.  There’s got to be more to all this, because it really doesn’t make sense.  Hopefully we’ll get some answers very soon.

I went home to NY to be with my Mom and brother and we have been going through his affairs.  It’s quite the toll, let me tell you.  This was an experience that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.  The entire ordeal of the whole thing is a lot of work.  Be sure you are prepared mentally, emotionally, financially, etc.  It’s really important to make sure all your “i”s are dotted and “t”s are crossed.

I saw my Dad and said my goodbyes.  I had my closure and told him what I needed to say.  Hopefully he is at peace and perhaps he heard what I said.  I really do hope that he is at peace.  I think the stroke and being immobilized was too much for him, especially since he was such a vibrant, active, hard-working man.  This pretty much stopped him in his tracks.  But, I’m not sure.  He looked good, almost restful.

Aside from my maternal and paternal grandmother’s passing, this is the third death I’ve experienced and it’s given me a huge wake up call that we are all living on borrowed time.  Tomorrow isn’t promised to us; nothing is promised to us really, except life and death.  It’s what we do in between the two that really matters.

These past 2 weeks have been an emotional roller coaster, to say the least.  Some things were revealed that I thought only happened in the movies and has really opened my eyes to how I live my life and how I will live my life from now on.  I’ve often heard that you go through a metamorphosis when someone close to you dies, and I believe that to be true.  I do know this…no one is perfect, we all have our flaws and we are not going to make everyone happy.  That’s not why we are here.  If you’re living your life trying to make everyone else happy, you’re going to be miserable.  If you’re living your life as if you are invincible, you’re in for a huge reality check.  If you’re living your life as if you are God’s gift to the world, let me be the one to burst your bubble and tell you, “No, you’re not!!!  Get that chip off your shoulder and be decent.  You put your pants on the same as everyone else, you bleed just like everyone else.  Get over yourself.” 

It was great seeing my Mom, Brother, family and some of my friends that I was able to see while I was back in NY for the week.  Right now, I’m sitting at the gate in Toronto waiting on my last leg home to PEI.  My Mom is worried that I might breakdown when I get back.  I don’t think I will, but the reality hasn’t set in for me yet.  I haven’t cried much, but did get emotional last week.  Does it mean I don’t miss him?  Who knows.  Am I in denial?  I don’t think so – I saw him and he’s really dead.  I’ll be home soon, and I can’t wait to see my boys and give them all great big hugs and kisses – all 4 of them!!!

I’m not one to give advice, but, here’s what I do know – if you’ve been meaning to contact someone, pick up the phone and call them.  If you’ve done someone wrong, apologize.  If you’re hurt, tell someone.  Do right by others; do right by yourself and don’t be a know-it-all.  Be decent; be genuine; be yourself.  Tomorrow isn’t promised to us.  We really are on borrowed time.

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