When Fate shows her face
Posted on July 21 2019
If you don't believe in fate, you just might at the end of this story.
Today, Facebook reminded me of a memory from 7 years ago. An impromptu trip to the whales tale in New Hampshire with my mother in law, sister in law and her husband, her kids my brother in law, and my husband and my kids.
Now normally in July, my mother in law would have been on a trip to Alaska with her husband, but that year she decided to skip and stay home to visit with her daughter who was coming from Pennsylvania for 2 weeks over the summer. So when her daughter visited, we thought let's all take trip to the White Mountains! It was the first time that my mother in law had been with ALL her kids and her grandkids. Ever.
We had two awesome weekends, and our family time concluded with this trip, 7 years ago today at the whales tale where we spent the day in wave pools and water rides. We had the best time, laughing and enjoying the beautiful day and each others company. It is one of my favorite memories.
A week later, Uncle Mike (my husbands brother) came to the house to hang out. We chatted and randomly, I asked him how long it had been since he had gone to the doctor. He laughed and said it had been 8 years. I insisted he go get a check up, and he promised he would.
Not 2 weeks after that, Mike suffered a massive stroke driving on the road, and after a week in the ICU, passed away.
It was a shocking and horrible time for our family. Mike was a gem, a treasure of a human who touched the lives of every person he ever met. He was the fun uncle who visited often and always brought the biggest chocolate bunnies at Easter and the best presents at Christmas. He was super in every way. At his funeral, lines of people coiled around the building waiting to pay their respects. It felt like a horrible nightmare. And I couldn't help but feel those two weekends were no accident.
For my mother in law to skip that trip, for my husbands sister to be visiting, for us to have those weekends together for the first time ever as a family, it was a gift from someone, or something and I get chills every time I think about it.
I learned a lot from losing Mike. I learned that life has small gifts we often overlook, and that I should take nothing for granted. I learned how important it is to make time to take care of your health no matter how busy you are because you will either spend the time preventing issues or likely spend more time fixing them. I learned that time should always be made to spend with the people who matter to you, and words you want to say should be said, even if they sound sappy. I learned that more people than you realize care about you, and that friendships are worth maintaining and cultivating, that relationships are everything. I learned that most things that consume our time and our attention day after day are actually utterly meaningless, and in the face of actual tragedy are so insignificant, we wonder why we ever allowed the to occupy real-estate in our lives.
In losing Mike, I gained a whole new appreciation for the life I have been gifted. Somedays I get sucked back into the minutia like any person does I guess, but then I remember Mike, and those fateful 2 weekends and I feel less alone, and reminded that there is something greater than us. Perhaps a fate, that gave my mother in law (and us) those memories to cherish forever.
Watch out for life's tiny gestures, make the time to make memories and cherish the ones you love. Reach out to that friend you haven't talked to in years but think of often. Make the most of every moment, because you just never know when you may not have that chance again. Sometimes I think life tries to tell us, but we get distracted and busy with the mundane. Don't get distracted. Make the time to do the things that really matter.
And for Uncle Mike, I will continue to try and do that, everyday.