Unexpected Calls

Was at lunch with a group of friends and one of the people who recently lost a relative unexpectedly said as an introduction to the topic, “I hope you never get a call like that.”  And i thought, “I already have.” and I wondered who among us, at our lunch, also had.  And how myopic of my friend to not realize we all get calls like that.

Nobody WANTS that call, that’s certain sure, but…I hope you never get a call like that?  I do as well, but I’ve gotten many different calls that are pretty close to like that or exactly like that.  I’m sorry I have to tell you this, but…

  • A minor surgery has developed into major complications and there was nothing we could do.  We tried everything we could think of.
  • Your baby has stopped growing.  Your body should start miscarrying soon.
  • Come home.  We need you here now.  […but I am home. Just not where you are home]
  • It’s cancer.  We don’t know how bad yet.
  • He had a seizure under water.  Maybe 8 minutes?  The doctors are doing everything they can, but he’s not breathing on his own.  It’s not looking good.
  • We’ve decided to stop treatment.
  • It was a stroke.  Luckily your cousin went over there.  They think she might have been dead for three days.
  • []’s dead. There was a fire.

Those are just some of the calls that I’ve received and I don’t consider myself particularly old or particularly unlucky.  We all get the call.  And it always hurts.  And we’re never able to do enough, to be enough.  No one gets out alive.  And the path to death is inevitably painful and paved with such calls.  But in the spirit of my friend Liz, I will end this with a positive.  I’m blessed to be in a position to receive these calls.  Blessed to have ever had what time I did with the people I love.  How much bleaker would my life have been if I’d never known these people.  Never shared my life with them, for whatever time we had.

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