Today I Am Thankful

April 10, 2011

I woke up today between my husband and my son. As a family, with both dogs, we came downstairs to start the day.

Today, my husband and I will have coffee together. We will argue about ordinary things. We will tease each other, and tell inside jokes, and fight over the remote control and who has to cook dinner this evening. Tonight, we will tuck our son into bed, together, and we will kiss each other goodnight.

And, for that, I am thankful.

Last night, a friend of my sister’s (and her husband’s) died unexpectedly. He was in his early 30s. He had two children (ages seven and nine), and a wife.

Today, his wife had to wake up without him there. And so did his children.

And they will never again argue over ordinary things, or tease each other, or tell inside jokes, or fight over the remote control, or who cooks dinner, or tuck their children into bed together, or kiss each other goodnight.

Those children will have to grow up without a father… they’ll never again high-five him after winning a game, or hug him on Christmas morning, or sit around the table and talk about their days. They won’t get to argue with him over who they date, or curfew, or why they can’t get the car they want. He won’t be there when they walk across stage and receive their diplomas. He won’t proudly take pictures of his children, all dressed up, as they scurry off to prom. He won’t be there to walk his daughter down the aisle. Their mother will be there, of course, and I can’t help but think about how all of those moments will be a constant reminder of what isn’t there, and how she has to do all those things without him.

I called my sister right away this morning, to check on her. She’s a wreck; last night they went to be with his wife, and I think today it is all really sinking in. I had met this family a few times, at birthday parties and BBQs, but I don’t know them. So, for the second time this week, I am left reeling by the loss of strangers. I cannot wrap my head around it. I don’t know how you tell your children that their daddy is gone. I don’t know how you can possibly move on from something like this. I don’t ever, ever want to know what it feels like to look at an empty pillow next to mine, and know he’s never coming back. I don’t want to know how strong you have to pretend to be because you don’t want your children to crumble.

So, instead, today I will focus on being thankful for what I do have. Because damn, it can be taken away from you just like that. Today I will kiss more, hug harder, fight less, and be nicer. We only have today.

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