Horrible things happen to good people. It is a fact of life, but that doesn't make it any easier when tragedy strikes someone you know. Earlier this week, I got an unexpected phone call from a friend who has never called me in all the time I've known her. I thought maybe she was calling to check on me in my first week of unemployment, but I was wrong. So wrong. I only wish that had been the reason.
She was calling to tell me that the husband of our mutual friend was very sick, and in the hospital. It was Dan, the husband of my former coworker McNulty, for whom we threw that baby shower back in June. Dan, the father of precious little Kiera, who I was so excited to meet back in August. She told me that things didn't look good, and my heart sank.
I told Justin, and he took it harder than I would have expected. You see, Dan and Justin aren't that far apart in age. They were both librarians. Back when I met Dan at the baby shower, I told Justin that I thought he should have come, because I thought he and Dan would have hit it off. They had a lot in common. We held each other a little tighter that night, and hoped that somehow, Dan would pull through.
The next morning, I got an email that Dan had passed away. Diane, the HR director at my old job called me to check on me, because she knew I'd be home alone all day. I was fine, but my heart was broken for my friend. It just didn't seem fair, that two people who had fought for so long to become parents were only given two months to be a family. My heart broke too for Kiera, who would only know her father through the photos and memories passed on by his friends and family.
When Justin got home from work, I hugged him harder than I think I've ever hugged him before. My friend lost the love of her life, the father of her infant daughter, when he was young and in the prime of life. They had no warning, and little time to say goodbye. They thought they had all the time in the world together.
I tell Justin all the time that I want to spend the rest of my life with him, but the reality is, none of us have any idea how long that will actually be. Nobody can predict the future, and though we hope that a lifetime will be a long time, sometimes it is not. I am so incredibly lucky that I have found Justin, and experienced this kind of love in my lifetime.
It's easy to get caught up in the minutia of our daily lives, but I am choosing to take this tragedy as a reminder not to take a single day that I have with him for granted. Nobody knows how much time they will have, but we can do our best to make that time matter, and to make the most of it.