Yesterday, I hugged four grieving children and one toddler who was blissfully unaware that his father had just died.
Sixteen years ago (I think), we moved into our house on Sollars Drive, next door to the Dishman family. At that time, they were only a family of three. Over the course of the last sixteen years, my parents and I have watched them become a family of seven. Their oldest, Tate, was two years old at the time-- making my mom cry because he called her a "Moo Cow," despite her best peace offerings of toys and candy.
Tate's parents are Amy and Dave, people who would become great family friends of ours. We would later come to celebrate four more births (of Teaghan, Tannon, Tynan, and Tyce) and countless birthdays with their family. We have shared Christmas celebrations, watched kids play sports, and I logged hundreds of babysitting hours at their home during my teenage years. The little ones learned to ride their bikes in our driveway, and my parents' house has been Santa's Storage Facility for the Dishman family gifts at Christmas. My mom and dad have shared dinners and laughs with Amy and Dave, and Dave and my dad have fixed lawn mowers, moved furniture, erected Christmas trees, and exchanged tools together. Four out of the five kids were a part of our wedding. Tyce would have been, too...but he wasn't born yet.
We have a lot of memories between our two homes on Sollars Drive. Unfortunately, another memory was created yesterday when my dad received a phone call from Tate to come over quickly because something was wrong with Dave.
Dave, not even 50 years old, was found unconscious by Tate and Amy...a scene no wife or child should ever witness. A few hours later, my dad called me to say that Dave didn't make it.
The word "surreal" doesn't describe this feeling. Our family lost a friend. Amy lost a husband. These children lost their father. Let the nightmare begin.
Luke and I put our darling one-month old in the car and headed to Muncie to be there for the families-- both the Dishmans and my own. Seeing my own grieving parents was difficult enough, but it pales in comparison to seeing Dave's five children mourn the loss of their father.
Already, at the ages of 17, 13, 9, 8, and almost 2...they have miles on their life journeys that I can't begin to identify with. They, in a couple of days, will bury their father, and then return to elementary, middle, and high school in a week. It's an unfair paradox that makes me nauseous.
Speaking of unfair, Dave's family just experienced the loss of his own father a week ago to the day of Dave's death. Dave's own children were still grieving the loss of their grandfather, and Dave's mother was already feeling like life could not go on. This family has got to still be looking for the truck that hit them.
Whenever something like this happens, and by "something like this" I mean a seemingly healthy, relatively young father of five beautiful children just suddenly passes away on a beautiful Saturday morning...it leaves you with a horrifying reality that life is so short. As a new mom, I know that 1,000 years wouldn't be nearly long enough to spend with Noelle or Luke. I know that I will be luck to get 50 or 60 years.
Let us learn from this...that we can't ever get back our yesterday-- live for the moment; live for today.