Lost Forever In An Instant

Any death of a family member, or a very dear friend, represents a deeply emotional loss.  When that day comes, from lingering disease, or even a shorter-term cause, as much as we may like to say or think can say that we’re “prepared” for his/her passing, we never truly are.  And when that day of death finally does arrive, it always brings with it a jolt, the sudden, instant awareness of loss and finality, bringing with it, a sense of aloneness.  But although the end result is the same, totally unexpected sudden, almost instant, death from accident or injury inevitably, and understandably, leaves loved ones emotionally shattered.  No thought of, nor any preparation for, such a traumatic loss.

Such was the case recently of two perfectly innocent recreational activities.  The kind where no one could ever possibly be concerned for a loved one’s safety.  Or that a person could possibly slip from our earthly grasp so suddenly and permanently.

In Reno, Nevada, a nine-year-old girl, was having fun with friends in one of those inflatable “bounce houses” we’ve all seen at neighborhood parties, family church socials, county fairs, etc.  Suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, a strong gust of wind blew that inflatable almost ten-feet into the air, snagging it on power lines.  Those wires made contact with that young girl, severely injuring her.  After two days in intensive care, she passed away.  But her distraught parents saw to it that she would leave a hero’s legacy, by donating her organs, so that several other children might live, or live better, thanks to that immeasurable gift.

And just the day before, a 37-year-old North Carolina father of six, was playing with three of his children in the shallow water close to shore at Oak Island, when, suddenly a powerful wave struck him from behind, slamming his head into the sand, breaking his neck. His wife, kids, and others tried to help him, but there was little they, or the first responders, could do.  His throat swelled, cutting off oxygen to the brain for too many minutes, and he perished.  Said his wife later that day on social media: “My partner, my love, and my home died today after a freak accident.”  Ever so sadly, that freak accident reference is an understatement.  Who could believe his death happened as it did, and so suddenly.  That Dad and his wife had met as teen-agers.  Of the six children he leaves, four were adopted, to include three siblings from Uganda, and a young girl with Cerebral Palsy from Taiwan.  A generous and loving man and wife, who had sacrificed and clearly given so much, found themselves, this time, forced to give yet again.

And yet another freak accident, but this one was, miraculously, not fatal.  While her husband was on the riding mower cutting grass in their South Dakota back yard, his wife and former Marine, was picking up kids toys on the back porch.  Suddenly, the mower ran over a hard object and flung it at high speed in the direction of his wife.  Standing over 30-feet away from that mower, the projectile struck her in the neck, slicing it open, causing a dangerous gash, triggering  immediate heavy bleeding.  Responding to her calls for help, her husband, clearly having had some kind of trauma training, raced to his car, retrieved a specialty first-aid bag, and began applying pressure to her neck wound, along with a special clotting pad.  The ambulance arrived and transported her to an area hospital.  Physicians told her later that whatever struck her neck was “millimeters away from her carotid artery, trachea, and vocal chords!”  Severing a carotid artery can prove fatal in just minutes from the bleed out.  She was extremely fortunate. She lived, giving this story a happier ending.  Said her husband: “No one is going to be outside again when I’m mowing!”

The reality is that sudden death happens around the nation every day.  Mostly singular, but rarely, we hope, in larger number through a single instance of violence.  Whatever the cause, lives are lost forever, often in an instant. For that reason, given the total unpredictably of life’s longevity, it is important, no, it is imperative, that we express our genuine feelings to those closest to us, whenever we part, whether it’s just the routine leaving for work or ending a phone call with them.  We need to let those people know, whether family or dear friend, that we love them.  Commit to making it a habit to say that every time we leave, physically or verbally, those whom we truly do love. For, as we read about in two instances, and almost a third above, and sadly learn from other sources all too often, while temporarily leaving each other is a given, it’s the return that isn’t.  Offer your expression of love each time you part.  There’s no guarantee you’ll have a second chance.


(Bounce house youngster via dailymail.com, Bryony Jewel, 7-22-19; Intense wave via dailymail.com,  Emily Crane, 7-21-19;  Mower gash via dailymail.com,  Chauncey Alcorn, different post, 7-21-19).