08 November 2014

No One Knows

It's almost 3 in the morning and I'm wide awake.  For the second time in eleven weeks, I went skating tonight.  For someone who used to skate two to three times per week, for me to be absent this long is rare. Nonetheless, I found some energy, laced up my skates, and pressed on.

The regulars were there.  My skate buddy, who also missed last week's session, was there.  A friend from high school, who I hadn't seen at the rink in a long time, was there.  Byron, another long-time regular, was also there.

My skate buddy and I had just exited the rink after a fast song to sit and get hydrated.  We both saw Byron hit the floor.  We commented that Byron NEVER falls and that it was a shock to see him on the ground.

It turns out that he didn't fall; he collapsed.  A couple of skaters started administering CPR until an ambulance was able to respond.  They worked on him in the truck on site for what seemed like an eternity.  When the ambulance pulled away, a few of us went to the hospital and waited.  And waited.  His family showed up and we waited some more.

He didn't make it.

He woke up this morning to do what he usually does on Friday - no doubt with an anticipation to roll later that evening.  He didn't know that this would be his final skate.  No one knew.  No one ever knows.

He always had the largest smile and most genuine of greetings.  I can't remember if we've ever skated or not - perhaps once.  I do remember that he always said hello.  ALWAYS.  He was pleasant, cordial, and just enjoyed skating.  The skaters that were at the hospital said that they've known/skated with him for over 30 years.  

He was a good guy.

The suddenness of his passing is unreal.  Everything seemed so normal.  He waived and spoke like he always did.  While I was skating backwards, I watched him and his skate buddy do their graceful turns together - again just like normal.

Why am I writing this?

I am sorry.  I forgive you.  I love you.  Thank you.  I don't want to leave this place without saying these things to people who've entered/exited and continue to exist in my life.  I hope we can all do the same. 

Be well.

L

20 comments:

  1. So sorry for your loss and send my deepest sympathy to you and his family.

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  2. So sorry to hear about your loss. As I get older I realize that time is the most valuable thing that I have. And I've learned to truly appreciate when people share their time with me, as it is freely given and can not be taken back. Thank you for writing, sharing, and reminding us of the importance of saying I love you.

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    Replies
    1. Absolutely. It's important that not only we say it to others, but to ourselves as well.

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  3. I am so sorry about your loss. It is difficult to add a memory like this to something you love like skating. I have been thinking about this story ever since I first read your words and don't want to minimize the tragedy. However, I think it might be nice to leave this world doing something I really love to do and to be able to do it until the very end. Thank you for sharing this and know that you and Byron's family will be in many thoughts and prayers.

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    Replies
    1. You're not minimizing the tragedy at all. I couldn't agree with you more.

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  4. I am sorry to hear of the loss of your skating buddy. You never know when your time is up and the best you can do is make the most of life. It sounds like your friend did exactly that. Was a nice person and did what he enjoyed doing. My thoughts are with you and his family and other skating friends.

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  5. Oh L. I am very sorry for your loss. And you're right; no one ever knows :(

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  6. I'm so sorry for your loss. A coworker lost her husband in a similar, shocking way doing something he loved (he was in his early 40's). It really makes it hit home how you never know...

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  7. It must have been such a shock. Sorry for the loss. Just proves we've got to value each day and not sweat the small stuff, like you said.

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  8. Oh Lynn, what a shock. Every day is a gift.
    He and his kind spirit will live on in everyone who ever knew him, including you.

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    1. Every day is definitely a gift and I am working hard to not take it for granted. Thank you for reminding us.

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  9. I am so sorry. It's always difficult. When my dad died, this poem by Walt Whitman in Leaves of Grass meant a lot to me -- I hope it brings you a little bit of solace.

    What do you think has become of the young and old men?
    What do you think has become of the women and
    children?

    They are alive and well somewhere;
    The smallest sprouts show there is really no death,
    And if ever there was it led forward life, and does not wait
    at the end to arrest it,
    And ceased the moment life appeared.

    All goes onward and outward. . . .and nothing collapses,
    And to die is different from what any one supposed, and
    luckier.

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing this poem.

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  10. What a shock - I should think this still feels quite unreal. I'm sorry for your loss - I guess it has caused you to rethink life yet again. It's so transient, yet we take each other and each day for granted don't we? Big Hug.

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    1. We do and I know for sure that I am a work in progress.

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  11. Oh L, what a shock, take care and as you say we need to value each day, another hug.

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  12. Thank you everyone for sharing your thoughts and prayers. Though I only knew Byron casually at the rink, his death affected me in a profound way. The shock of his sudden passing is something that helped to lay perspective to many things. Time is not promised and while we are here, we should do our best to live, love, and let others do the same. Anna Christina said it best when she commented that he passed away doing something he truly enjoyed. He was among people he knew for years doing something he loved.

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  13. L, sorry to read about Byron. Reminds me of the quote - 'This moment is all there is' by Rumi.

    Who knows what tomorrow will bring to anybody at any time. Might as Well enjoy doing what we love. What we want to do...

    Hugs!

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Thanks for commenting! I appreciate and read them all - even if I can not personally respond.

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