A Bitter Reminder, A Fond Farewell

The day-to-day tends to bring itself into the forefront and consume your thoughts. You worry about what’s going on, and what’s about to go on, and not so much about what went on earlier, what will go on later, and what you wish you had thought of once later gets here.

We take the most important things and assume they’re always going to be there, and that these things are aware that they’re our most important things. Everything is inconvenient, everything is a bother that we put off until later when there are less pressing things to deal with.

So much of our lives are consumed with getting to tomorrow that today is literally wasted on things that in the end may not even matter. The time we spend thinking about what to have for dinner, who to call for appointments, what to pay gas, where to park to maximize exercise but not delay us too much, should we spend that $5, should we eat that cookie, should we rent that movie, should we check our Facebook walls, should we tweet this thought, or this one, or this one, or that one I had before.

And so life goes, day after day until you find yourself here, today, wondering where the time went, when your kids grew up, when they learned to read and tie their own shoes, and you realize they learned all that when you were frustrated and complaining that they didn’t know how to do it yet. When you were wishing them out of the high chair, out of the walker, out of the strollers, out of diapers, and it hits you that you wish they were back in those things.

Years ago as I grew up, there was a girl in my class, and because she was a girl, I couldn’t like her. Those were the rules. The girls were all mean, as were about 80% of the boys. I had only a few friends, and although now that we’re all grown, everyone could likely get along, only a few would admit the stupidity that governed the adolescent social network in the early 80s.

One fine day I and a male friend (not quite one of the 20%, but close, perhaps mid 30%s.) were after school at the home work help center, at a table with the afore-mentioned girl. This was unusual territory for me to find myself in, though my companion seemed comfortable, so I kept the shields down.

“Lemme sign your notebook,” he said. “Okay,” she allowed. He drew some goofy poorly drawn somethingorother and handed her back the pen. “Want me to sign it?” I asked. “Uh, no, that’s okay” she said, to which my friend said “Oooooohhhh!!”

S’alright, I didn’t wanna sign her stupid notebook anyway.

While I was a little embarrassed I was grateful she was at least nice enough to say no thanks, rather than laugh, or look appalled. The lack of malice did not go unnoticed.

Time went on, to the tune of a few years, and run ins with her, or anyone else of the opposite sex, and most of the same, were few and far between. I hated them, cause I knew they hated me, and that was fine.

Eight grade came and went, she went one way, I went another. Last time I saw her physically was 1993. I was just shy of 14. Fast forward 17 years, and I talked to her a while on Facebook. I wanted her to know that when I looked back, she was always one of the nicest, and sorry for giving her any sort of hard time I may have (did).

Marcy MacDonald passed away last night, in her sleep. I’m not sure how, that I saw it said on her Facebook page that she had an aneurysm. I don’t know any of the details, but I am completely shocked by it, as our mutual friends all seem to be.

In the last two years I got to know her fairly well, and through Facebook she shared pictures of her son and family and life. She posted frequently, and not the drama filled posts of many folks who post frequently, she posted about fun, and love, and life. She was very proud of her straight A son, and was planning a trip back to Boston soon.

Don’t take your loved ones for granted. Don’t assume they know you love them. Don’t assume they’ll be there tomorrow, after you get that report finished. Forget about the business meeting, the political agenda, and all the other crap you’d kick yourself for valuing above the important things, and go hug your kids, brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, aunts, uncles, cousins, and whatever else you’re lucky enough to have with you, cause you never know when you won’t, and you’ll never get the chance to after that.

Marcy, I’m glad to have known you, and I’m glad to have gotten to know you as an adult. Although I never got to sign your notebook, I am honored to have been able to leave a mark on your Wall. I truly enjoyed chatting with you on Facebook about times passed, and times yet to come, and I look forward to getting the chance to do it again someday. You will be greatly missed. I know you’ll put in a good word for us, even if we never did anything to deserve it. Yours is a memory I, and countless others will never forget.

To the loved ones left behind: I know there’s really nothing that anybody can say to dull the ache, or right the injustice, but know that my heart goes out to all of you. I wish you love and peace.

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5 thoughts on “A Bitter Reminder, A Fond Farewell

  1. Matt, so sorry to hear this. It is remarkable how much time and energy are wasted on things that don’t really matter in life. We all need reminders from time to time. Imagine the clarity we have when we are told we only have a short time to live – what would we list as things want to accomplish before leaving this earth? I doubt any such list would include 99% of the worries that invade and overtake our normal day. We should all make such a list, making sure we find time in our day to tend to it.

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