Monday, September 27, 2010

A reminder that life is short and such

At 6am this morning our three alarms went off like they do every weekday. (Yes, it takes three alarms to wake us up.) As my husband reached to turn his phone alarm off, he sleepily scanned through his inbox the way he does every weekday before 6:30am. But this morning, it was different. His pause on one particular email was too long. 

"My grandfather died," he said suddenly, sitting up.

"What?" I murmured.

This couldn't be happening. I must still be asleep.

"He had an accident," my husband said, unclear of what happened. As he dialed his father, who was on his way down to be with his grandmother, it all felt surreal. His grandparents just stayed with us for a whole weekend two weeks ago on their way back from an Alaskan cruise. We'd just had steak dinners with them, just toasted cocktails over those dinners to our impending visit to see them soon in Arizona, where they live. This couldn't be possible.

What was worse was when my husband found out what the accident entailed. It wasn't a fall or a car accident (both equally tragic), but instead he'd shot himself in the head. They say it was an accident, that he slept with a gun by his bed every night for safety and that he was alone in the bedroom when it happened, but who knows until the report comes back. I only met him twice so I barely knew him but both times we met he acted like he'd known me forever, even likened me to "Calamity Jane, since I had what he called a "spark" and could "hold my own with men." I can't stop thinking about how when they visited two weeks ago, my husband and I watched them dance together in our living room to Frank Sinatra, and now he's...gone. We're in shock about how sudden it was, how when we dropped them off at the airport we had no clue it would be the last time we'd see him.

And the poor grandmother. They had their whole retirement ahead of them. They were planning to have a big family party this Christmas, and were planning to take a cruise to the Bahamas next year. But now she's alone, with that awful last image of him probably emblazoned onto her brain when she ran into the room and discovered him dead. I feel so sorry for her. Even though she has family, she and her husband were her nucleus, together for over 30 years. I'm still trying to make sense of it all. Somehow it just doesn't seem fair.


  1. This probably isn't the appropriate thing to say but all I could think when I read this was "holy shit." That is so awful... I feel so sorry for your husband, his family and grandma. And for you as well. Death is always sad but to be faced with it like this is so shocking.

    I will keep you all in my thoughts and prayers.

  2. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your husband's family. It's awful to deal with a situation like that, and in those circumstances, I can't even imagine how much more difficult that makes it. All I can say is I'm so sorry for your loss. Which I know is hollow, but sometimes, it's all we can say.

  3. I'm so sorry, there are never any words that can provide enough comfort in bereavement. My dad died three years ago, my mum lost her husband after 36 years of marriage. I just cannot imagine losing someone that has been a soulmate for so many years.

  4. Thank you all for thinking of us at this time. CameronPoe: I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your father. Thirty-six years is such a long time. I hope your mother is doing okay. :(

  5. I am so sorry to hear about your husband's grandfather. Dealing with death is never easy, especially when it is so unexpected. My heart goes out to you both.

  6. Hi my mum is doing okay, birthdays and Christmas can be upsetting. They had a long and happy marriage and supported each other till the end and that's all anyone could wish for. Take care xx

  7. I am so sorry to hear about your husbands grandfather. I don't know what else to say but that his family is in my thoughts. Hugs to all.

  8. I hope that you and J are able to be supportive for the rest of the family. I am so sorry and my thoughts and prayers go out to you.