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50 Things I’ve Learned in 50 Years…..#10

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#10. “In an instant, your world can be turned upside down. The people you take for granted can disappear in the blink of an eye. Tomorrow is only a plan. This moment is all you have.”

It was October of 2000. It was a Saturday morning when the phone rang, waking me up from a deep slumber. As one who usually dreaded the worst, I assumed this 7 a.m phone call meant something was wrong. Perhaps my grandmother was ill but in the back of my mind, I thought “calm down, it’s probably just a wrong number”. Nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to hear.  It would have been the furthest idea from my mind. It was unthinkable.

When my crying mother said my brother was “gone”, I asked where he went. He was single. He could go wherever he wanted. He had no significant ties. I thought…. where in the world could he have gone that would upset my mom so much? What was she talking about?

Confused and half asleep I asked her, “Where did he go?”

“He’s dead”, she muttered  with whatever strength she could dig up from……somewhere. My mother had waited hours to call me. She just couldn’t pick up the phone.

He was 36 years old. He was my baby brother by three years.

He was my only brother.

I fell to the floor. I remember so clearly the sound that came out of my mouth. I remember pacing back and forth and screaming “no” over and over. I am sure at that moment, I was insane. I remember crawling up the stairs, waking up my ex husband. I was not me, but just an empty, robotic being, mumbling, sobbing, shaking, running around the room……lost in denial.

I cannot understand to this day how I drove an hour and a half by myself to get there. My two sons were still asleep (or were they?) and their dad would stay there with them. I didn’t want them to know anything about their uncle yet…because it couldn’t be true anyways. That was the plan I managed to somehow articulate before running out the door to my car. I was going to see him because that was the only way I could prove that this wasn’t happening.

The next time I saw my brother, it was Halloween night and he was in a casket.

DEATH is sneaky. Don’t ever trust it. It hides away mysteriously and then leaps out of nowhere to blindside you into oblivion.
LIFE is precious. Don’t ever take it for granted. It is amazing, breathing and beautiful and it never hides. Take everything it has to offer.

Don’t wait until the phone rings or there is a knock on the door. Live your life to the fullest.
Every minute unfolding in front of you is amazing.

~ In memory of my brother, his laughter, his incredible smile , his song , his silly dance and most of all, his loving heart.~

12 responses »

  1. Live our life today absolutely. … IS precious indeed

  2. Well said. Well said. It was a lovely piece. 🙂

  3. very nice! I am fast learning about this too! 😦

  4. Great post! Your writing really made me feel your pain in loosing your brother and how you dealt with it! I wish these were things we didn’t have to learn in life.

  5. Thanks for sharing your beautiful story. My son died in 2003. Check out my post “Entering the rock climbing world.”

    • Carol, I did read your post and it is beautifully written. I am so sorry for your loss. I actually ordered your book today from Amazon. It may be something that my mother would relate to as well.

  6. My older brother, of two years, past in 2005. (I have three, including him.) When I found out, I felt as if he had abandoned me, I still feel that way at times, since our minds were so similar. At times we forget the importance of someone until it’s (too) late. Remember to remember.

    • I am sorry for your loss. We expect to grow old with our siblings so it really can be devastating. You are right, the time is now to appreciate the ones we love.
      I found that I absolutely had to find something to do to honour my brother in order to cope emotionally and to find something positive within the loss. For me, this was letting go of fear and other hindering emotions to really live life…..for him and for me. Sending you good thoughts 🙂

  7. I agree with your sentiments, life is precious. Thank you for sharing this post, I had goose pimples. I have yet to lose someone close to me, but I did feel and share your emotions.

  8. Thanks for appreciating my writing. 🙂

  9. *crying* – out loud 😦

  10. Aww…thanks so much for reading. It has always been healing for me to write about it.


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