Facing mortality

angel.jpgWhen a person manages to reach the ripe old age of 50, I think it’s fairly natural to begin to realize that the old adage is true: You’re not gonna live forever.  With that said, 52 is still considered moderately young, and certainly “too young” to die.  I don’t know the ages of the unfortunate folks who were on the bridge in Minneapolis yesterday, but I’m pretty sure they were “too young to die”.   And my heart goes out to their families.  I cross similar type bridges on the interstate highway system on my way in to work, two days a week.   Theoretically, it could have been me (and still could).    About two weeks ago, I went to the eastern side of our state to visit family.  Had a fabulous visit with everyone and after 4 days headed back home.  Now it seems like I am always driving somewhere – and I do get soooooooo sick of it…. but, we do what we have to do.  And I needed to go see my dear Dad.  On the way home I made a huge mistake.  I checked my side mirror before changing lanes on the interstate, but I did NOT do the “head check” that they teach you back in high school driver’s Ed!  That day, on my way home (and possibly more often than I know), I had a Guardian Angel with me.  Funny thing, I had just been reading about Angels in an old book by Billy Graham that I found at Dad’s house.  As I attempted to change lanes, I “bumped into” a semi.  The semi’s wheel pushed at the left back door of my car and nudged me back into my lane.  I didn’t roll.  I didn’t crash.  We all just kept right on truckin’ down the freeway.  Yes, I DO believe in angels, and immediately wondered just what God has in mind for me to do in the rest of my allotted days, because he most certainly MUST have something planned for me.  He didn’t call me home that day.  In any case, I’m still here, and I’m so thankful, and happy.

Then yesterday I got an email from a friend who had heard on the news that a mutual friend of ours had died on Sunday in a motorcycle accident.  He was a highschool classmate of mine.  Someone I actually kept in touch with over the years from time to time.  Tony was very different from me, but that didn’t matter.  I still loved him.  He was a bit of a rebel, all of his life, and did things his way.  He used to drink heavily, and finally went to AA and quit – about 25 years ago.   I know that he never did give up an occasional marijuana cigarette.   Tony knew about the difficult circumstances surrounding my first marriage.  He always tried to encourage me, and told me that I deserved to be treated nicely.  When my spouse changed his mind after we purchased the tickets and decided he didn’t want to go to the “highly touted” Ice Capades in early 1977, Tony volunteered to go to the “big city” with me.  At that time, driving in the big city scared me to death.   When things were really difficult for me in 1994, he sent me a dozen red roses.  When he went through a difficult divorce, I did my best to cheer him up and remind him that he was special, and that his “Miss Right” would come along.  (she did, in 2001)  About 3 years ago, he and his dear wife came to our home for a visit.  We had a barbecue and a great time, reminiscing.  He was actively involved in his HOG motorcycle club – and the fact that he lost control on a perfectly dry, sunny afternoon simply baffles me.  I do recall in an instant message about 2 months ago, he told me that he’d started drinking “a bit” again.  I know I must have said something like, “now you know you can’t handle booze, Tony” –in any case… he’s gone.  And I’m so sad.