His Last Act of Generosity.

I question God a lot. I find myself asking why this and that loss happens, often. Perhaps because I’ve had more than my share of excuses to do so. Loss seems to be constant in my life as of late, and yesterday was no different. Yesterday I learned Matt died.

It’s funny how we all just assume that we’re immortal. Not to say that we don’t believe the end will ever come, but rather make choices as if we have plenty of time left to get to things or people. I know this. I’ve had many an occasion to nurse regrets because I waited too long. Still, I did it again. Yesterday as I sat at my computer reading the obituaries in the online local paper, I realized that I’d let time and opportunity escape me again. In front of me was a picture of the wonderful man I knew, loved, and had called my friend. A man I thought was busy living his life much the same way I was living mine, and one I believed would still be there when I got around to calling him. A man I learned was now gone. Shock is not even an appropriate word for my first reaction. Sadness definitely fit my second.

The loss of a person is hard enough in itself. Even those that leave misery in their footsteps will be missed by someone. It seems truly unjust though and difficult to comprehend when it’s someone like him. Matt with his mischievous, dark eyes under heavy brows that made his grin look comically sinister. Matt who was the definition of a gentleman in every sense of the word. Matt who had a kind heart, a gentle nature, and generously gave of himself without being asked. Matt who loved life and tried to enjoy it to the fullest. Matt, who was 44 years old when he passed away Friday in his sleep of heart failure.

I left behind a lot of people after getting my DUI. People in the big city where I’d grown up, lived and worked for forty one years before moving to the country, who some I had the good fortune of seeing nearly every day when I was tending bar. Not being one to inconvenience another, I had difficulty asking any one of these friends to make the hour drive to the country just to pick me up for the day, let alone go out for an evening. My hesitance at asking for a hand-up proved to be my undoing. Soon it seemed all those I had once been so close to had just moved on without me. Not their fault. I’ve never blamed them. They had an opportunity to be a part of things, where I had not, and chose to. Matt was one of those people. He had family, friends, a job, a life, and eventually as I withdrew more into myself the calls to him became more infrequent and we’d just stopped talking. But I knew eventually when I got my license back I would make that call to him, and the friendship would be the same as if there’d never been an interruption in it. Why should I have thought otherwise? He was my good buddy, and for all intents and purposes immortal.

Sadly, he was not immortal, none of us are, and passed away quite unexpectedly. And although I have no illusions that I might’ve been a person in his life he missed terribly or fretted over not being able to see, his passing hurt just the same and I am filled with regret that I missed out on spending time with him in what would be the last few years of his brief life.

Shock, sadness, guilt; all emotions I’m too familiar with. These are ones that can and have, completely emotionally derailed me in the past. Yesterday it didn’t. I suppose that’s the greatest sign of all that I’m doing better and in some form of recovery. I had a very healthy cry, made the call to extend my condolences to family and friends, signed the guest book on the online obituary, and went back to housework. Why? Because his life stopped and mine hasn’t. Their lives (my parents, brother, many friends, and my beloved pets I lost last year) have stopped, and mine hasn’t.

I do question God’s choices often, and perhaps shouldn’t. It’s only because I fail to see what good can come from taking this wonderful man who appeared to have so many more years of life left ahead of him away from a daughter, family and friends, who loved him dearly; because I fail to see what good could come from any of life’s losses I’ve suffered, as each appeared to have so much more left to contribute. But especially because my life, once again, has been spared. A life, sadly, I never felt had much purpose. The question Why them and not me? has often left me perplexed.

Today I am acutely aware of my surroundings…my life. I sit here in bed keying this post on my laptop, nursing a bad back after yesterday’s episode of grief-induced cleaning, and drinking my morning coffee. The weather has begun to turn again, there is a cloud cover and a gentle breeze fills my room, while the distinct sound of rustling branches outside my window can be heard. I listen for a whisper in the wind that tells me he knows I’m thinking of him.

Today they bury Matt. It is a funeral I won’t be attending. The family had chose to wait many days for the autopsy results before posting the obituary, as they knew many people would have questions and wanted to be able to provide them with answers, which unfortunately never gave me enough time to make arrangements so that I could attend. No one was able to reach me prior to the obituary because my number had been changed and I hadn’t felt it necessary to update anyone. My depression and reclusiveness cost me my final goodbyes to him, but has been a reminder of what and who is important to me and that these things and people are far too precious to be ignored. In understanding that I realize that perhaps Gods choices aren’t that questionable after all. Perhaps one door has to close before another can be opened. One life has to end to remind another to begin. 

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10 Comments on “His Last Act of Generosity.”

  1. I am sorry for your loss, I recently lost my dad, which has taught me a huge lesson at such a young age. Life gives us endless opportunities, and we have to grab them at every possibility, not matter what age or stage of life one is in. I know my father was suffering and that he is in such a better place now, in no way do i doubt God and his plan. He knew May 6,2012 my dad would leave and i believe that he has everything perfectly worked out for my life they way HE knows is correct.

    • I’m so sorry that it’s taken me so long to get back with you, Hon. My life tends to throw unexpected things my way, more often than not, and the way I’ve learned to cope is to shutdown and detach till the crazy shit is over.
      I’m terribly sorry that you lost your father. My mother passed in 1988, and then my father in 2004. Both died of lung cancer, and I had to remind myself too, that they were in a much better place than where they were before. Loss of a parent is terribly hard though, so I send good thoughts, prayers, and strength your way. If you find in the future that you have moments of sadness and mixed emotions you can’t explain, know that this is all part of the grieving process. One moment we may feel strong, then the next we may feel weak and begin to question God’s presence in helping us handle it. I assure you, He’ll still be there. We are just human, weak by nature, and flawed. There are steps to the grieving process, and most of us are not exempt. Always remember though, you are never alone.
      Much love your way….

  2. daisyfae says:

    so very sorry…. reminder that there are some folks i need to call. i’m going to try to catch up with at least 3 of my ‘wandered off’ pals this weekend. a very good reminder.

    take care…

    • I know I need to also. There are many old acquaintances I’d like to touch base with, but more important, some friends that really meant a lot to me I haven’t talked to in quite a while. Funny thing is, Sunday, before I ever learned of his death, I had this ‘sudden’ urge to connect to old friends, and did call one and texted another just to see how they were doing, tell them I was doing fine, and let them know that I would try to get into the city soon so we could hook-up for a visit. It was almost like I had this ‘feeling’ that something was amiss. My male friends have always been extremely important to me though, and this loss has really shook me up. Make sure you touch base with your buds. It’s very important.

  3. Renee Mason says:

    That was a huge meal you gave us to chew on. So sorry for the loss of your friend Lou.

    • Yeah, it was a huge shock. One I definitely would’ve never expected. I’m just so thankful that it was in his sleep…the way I hope I someday go. I just wish now I would’ve tried to get a hold of him sooner.

  4. Elephant's Child says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. I am so happy with the incredibly strong way you are facing it. Sending hugs your way as always.

    • I know I have to be getting better, Sue, because this didn’t break me, and in the past lesser things have. I think it helps that I’m focusing more on the way he lived, and taking comfort that he passed away peacefully in his sleep, than I am why it happened. I’m trying hard to let go of all the why’s and just accept things when they happen.
      Thanks for the hugs. They are always welcomed. 🙂 Love you too.

  5. beccajean73 says:

    Hello dear! I just want you to know that I needed this today. I feel so connected to you in so many ways. It seems that we live the same life in so many respects. I am so very sorry for the loss of your dear friend and also for the ones past. I can honestly say I feel your pain. I have been in your shoes and grief is not a good place to be. I hate it. It terrorizes me sometimes. You know I have experienced so much death in my life that I feel it keeps me from living. I worry so much about dying and leaving my kids that the fear grips me. We can’t understand why things happen all we can do is accept that they DO. I have questioned so many things in the past year even what really happens when we die. Although I was raised in church all my life I don’t go today. I have problems understanding why small children get cancer, why murderers are allowed to live, why people are starving and have no place to sleep. So many things eat away at me my friend but at the end of the day I am still thankful that my kids are healthy and I am alive. I truly love your blog and I am so grateful to have found you!!! Smile!

    • I’m glad you found me too! 🙂 I sometimes wonder if God doesn’t have a hand in some of the friendships I’ve made online, because many of us appear to have similar stories, feelings, hopes and dreams, etc. I find this fortunate, because I believe that quote “No man is an island” and think we draw great comfort and direction from each other.
      I question God’s reasons all the time, but I don’t think that’s why I don’t go to church anymore. I believe it’s because I prayed for so many years for His help to end my suffering, and became angry when I thought He’d denied me. I’ve long since gotten over that anger, but what happened as a result of my being out of church for so long, was that I began to ‘think’ for myself. I no longer took what other’s told me, or their interpretation of what the Word meant, as fact. I tired of having fear instilled in me constantly, and hearing hell and damnation preached. I tired of hearing that others were going to burn in hell for no other reason than that they felt differently. I wondered what had happened to the loving God I had learned about as a child. I just decided since God was a personal thing I would keep him as such, and choose to see him as a kind, loving God who forgives and gives credit for effort. If the opportunity ever arises that I find myself in the vicinity of a church that wants to preach this kindness and love, then I’ll attend. If not they can continue to scare each other to death without me. I have a panic disorder. That’s the kind of shit that can send me over the edge.
      I’ll be honest, by your description of worry, being terrorized, and gripped by fear over things, it sounds like you may have some panic disorder problems too. It can range from very subtle to life-altering, but if you have it you need to pay attention to it so that it doesn’t get worse. I’m not saying medicate, but definitely watch for signs of regression. It’s a tricky damn illness.
      You are right to focus on yourself and children to find gratitude. When things beyond our control start going crazy around us, we have to find the good and thankfulness in things. That’s the time to remind ourselves of what is truly important, and I think most of us would agree if something were to happen to one of our kids all the rest of the problems we’ve complained about wouldn’t amount to shit. I know one of the hardest things for me to deal with is knowing my oldest is sitting in prison, and that I can’t ‘mother’ him from here. I have no control over what happens to him in there and can’t ‘save’ him from anything. I don’t care how old they get, they are always going to be your baby. This particular ‘baby’ I’m speaking of is 27. So yeah, I think that’s a pretty positive thing to do by focusing on the health of you and your children.
      I’m so glad you stopped by again. 🙂 And I hope things are going well for you and yours. 🙂