This morning I attended the funeral of a family friend. Stephen Dollarton is someone I've known for pretty much my whole life - his sister, Joanne, and my sister, Bean, have been the best of friends for years. Steve and I even went on a date years and years ago - one of my best first dates ever. He took me to Dante and Luigi's in Philadelphia and then to my very fist (and very last) Flyer's hockey game. It was only one date...and I never turned into a hockey fan...but I did vow to one day marry someone who was a gentleman like Steve. (And I did!)
Cancer. He was 43 years old - just two years older than me. He has two young children in grade school. It's one of those senseless deaths that makes you stop in your tracks and question everything. It's one of those deaths that makes you want to hold your children tight and appreciate every second of every day. It's one of those deaths that makes you ask yourself, "Am I really living - do the people in my life know that I love them - am I wasting the time God is giving me?"
His death prompted me and Ed to discuss our own mortality. We decided to get going on wills that we've been putting off. We talked about what we would want if the worst should happen. Like I want anything and everything taken from my body if it can help someone else. And Ed wants to be buried together - and close to where his children are. We are having an insurance company out tomorrow morning to do physicals and take blood so we can increase our life insurance. And we have even talked about wanting each other to move on and find love if one of us should die. (Although I have stipulated that this new chick can't be prettier or smarter or funnier than me. Oh, wait - I guess that would be easy.)
These aren't the most pleasant conversations to have - but they are so necessary. Steve dying - and forcing me to face my own mortality - really got us thinking. Thinking about protecting our children...and each other. You just never know how much time you have here in this world! And it also was a marital reality check. It can be very easy to neglect your spouse when you have small children. Throw in some special needs and it can be even worse. I don't want us to waste precious time we have with each other. And I always tell Ed that I don't want us to become a cliche - married and miserable. So we are planning a getaway. Just the two of us. Destination undetermined at the moment, but it may involve palm trees. We need to reconnect. We need to remember why we love each other - but also why we like each other.
So thank you, Steve. Your death was tragic - and so unfair. But your death may have changed our lives. And for that, we thank you.