“Well, who would want to know if they were actually dying?”
That was the unusual (to me) comment made by the son of a man who passed away suddenly Saturday night.
Back up a little, Mr E was a good man. His family has been a part of my family since my senior year of high school. They were like second parents and never failed to simply “be there”….usually with lots of food.
Of course, Mr. E was getting older. He was tired more often and seemed to be coming down with a cold, or flu. So, when his youngest daughter came home and saw him sleeping in his chair, it was not a cause for alarm. He was snoring…then he wasn’t. That is basically all that happened.
We got the call less than an hour later.
….and started preparing food…..because that’s what you do when something like this happens; keep busy- cook, clean, make phone calls…
The next day we sat-walked-talked-laughed-cried with the family.
Mr. and Mrs E’s house was full as always, and sometimes you could even manage to forget why we were all there…until you looked out the back window. Seth, the oldest grandson was busy doing all the work around the lake, alone. He spent every Sunday with grandpa. They had a routine. He took it upon himself to handle the very important tasks of collecting all the stray sticks for the burn pile, cleaning the row boats and I’m not sure what else, but he was busy…. and unbearably sad.
When he was finally forced to come inside to eat something, it was clear the boy hadn’t slept, his hands rubbed his face, his hair, his hollow eyes… the sandwich was torn and then put in a baggie in the fridge – and he got back to work.
Things are said in the midst of all the uncomfortable sadness that don’t always make sense. People are coming at the situation full of their own thoughts and experiences and sometimes ugly “wisdom,” it’s best to not to really listen…just nod.
When the one son started to explain his dad’s symptoms leading up to Saturday, it was clear Mr. E was not doing well….and some questioned why he didn’t go to the doctor. In his defense, there was a lot going on, his wife was scheduled for surgery (today actually- now postponed) and it very well could have been the autumn flu that has been going around…and then the son said, “besides, who would want to know if they were actually dying?”
I didn’t know what to do with that phrase. I still don’t. I think Mr. E would have wanted to stay around, he enjoyed life too much. But I will not judge the man for not going to see a doctor – for a probable virus. I understand that much.
The GBE2 prompt for this week is “Ownership” I saw ownership in the actions of the oldest grandson as he took over in grandpas absence, and I wonder about taking ownership of your health. This connection is a floaty idea that hasn’t quite come together. Sure, you can do everything under the sun to take care of your body. Take ownership of your health so to speak, but even then, there are no guarantees.
Mainly, I hope more people take ownership of what they say this week around the family…..and remember, if you don’t have anything nice to say, KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT….words are unnecessary.