Life Suddenly Changed

Estimated reading time: 4 minute(s)

A friend of ours passed away this morning. It was very unexpected, apparently very sudden (though I do not fully know the details) and… it just feels very final.

I have not known this friend very long. We met his daughter and her family a little more than a year ago when they moved to our town. They home school their children and had met some mutual home schooling friends who introduced us and we pretty quickly became good friends. Her parents moved to town shortly after her dad had a massive heart attack (about one year ago) to live in the apartment attached to their house. It was all very God-arranged.

We met Wayne & his wife shortly after they moved to town and, likely due to our good friendship with their daughter and family, they quickly became our good friends too. They were equally quickly “adopted” by our kids as their third set of grandparents. (Really! There was even a signed certificate created by our kids!) 🙂 They graciously offered an open invitation to us to watch our kids any time Jen and I needed to get out for some no-kids time. (And we have taken them up on that invite several times!)

The first time I met Wayne, I realized we had a shared love of words. Both reading and writing. Wayne has been far more prolific than I in both departments, to be sure. I am currently reading a book he recommended, and I had been talking with him about helping him publish some of his books. I hope to still do that for him.

It’s been a strange day. Death has not touched me much in life. Presently, I can only think of two people who were really close to me who have died. My Mom’s dad died when I was 12 or 13. I remember that, and remember thinking, “Wow… that’s weird.” But I didn’t realize till later that reaction was due (at least in part) to my Mom’s relationship with him—I had only been with him a handful of times. The other person is my wife’s brother, Jeff. My brother-in-law for only about a year. He died just before our first son Ian was born. (I remember it was really hard. Really shocking. Very sad.) That’s the reason that Ian bears his name. (Ian Jeffrey Campbell).

Otherwise, death has always seemed to be a couple relationships away from me.

But I know Wayne. He is my friend. I already miss him.

I was processing all of this with another friend in an online conversation when I said, “Life just changed suddenly.” I didn’t mean it to be profound, but the more I thought of it, the more I realized it was true. Life—my life—is now different, and quite suddenly so.

Now, I’m sure I don’t hurt nearly as much as our friends who lost a dad, a husband, a grandpa … and we will be asking God to fill the large void they now (suddenly) have in their lives. He can and I know he will…

But there is a hole. There is an absence. Life… is different.

Each of us is so much more impactful than we admit. (Or perhaps we really don’t realize, or understand it.) Every person we know, every place we go, everything we do … is part of the “fabric” of the lives of all those around us. So, the closer we are, the more time we spend with people, the more the void is felt. But all of us feel the absence. All of us.

So I will (and already do) miss him.

Although I am not as naive as to think that death would never touch me, it still nearly always comes as a shock. We are such hardy, fragile creatures. One moment it’s incredible what we can come through, and the next moment we can be gone within that moment. We just never know.

What that means—since we know that—is that each moment we have is precious. We can very easily get to thinking otherwise. Life’s daily details overtake (perhaps overwhelm) our conscious thoughts. But we just never know when we won’t have the people we love with us anymore. All we know is that we have them—we are with them—now.

Please take a moment today, after you read this, and remind the people around you how much they mean to you. Take a second to encourage some of the greatness you see in them. Maybe take more than a second. We can’t live everyday worried that we are going to lose those we love, but, we can certainly remember to let them know what they mean to us as often as possible.

I’m glad to have known Wayne Leavitt. I hope to see him again one day.

Until then, while I am still here, I am now reminded to enjoy the moments I have with the people whose lives God has intertwined with mine, and to let them know how glad I am that he has.

I hope you will do the same.

7 Comments

  1. I am so very sorry for the loss of your friend. It is quite a shock and quite painful to lose one you love.

    I am thankful for the reminder – because even with the (too) many losses I have experienced that have been very close to me, it seems we always have a way of getting back to life – learning to live without them, guilty at first, but soon – even leaving the house – perhaps without even a goodbye or see you later to the ones we still share this life with.

    You are right. Don’t take a moment for granted. Too soon those moments are gone.

    Reply

    1. Valerie, it’s really easy I think to forget how fragile and precious life is. And how we really are not guaranteed even the next breath. (That is the story I have heard with our friend Wayne, actually… he was breathing one moment, and not the next.) When we’re awakened again to the true reality (that we are all in fact quite mortal) we are unwillingly reminded of what (rather, whom) is truly important in life. Certainly life moves on… it can’t help but do so, and we along with it. But we’re never the same each time someone else leaves us. Soak up life as God has given it to us, and live life to the full as Jesus intended us to. That’s all we can do..

      Reply

  2. This was so lovely, thank you for writing it, for becoming my dads friend and for helping us through this. He loved you Greg, I know you knew that, but you should be told that he did. He so enjoyed the time with you and your family.
    We will see him, maybe we will all have a spaghettie dinner someday with bread truly from heaven.
    I could not sleep last night listening to Greg (my Greg) sleeping, and knowing how precious every moment with him is.

    Reply

    1. Thanks, Aubrey. I was glad to be his friend. He was introduced to me as a man who likes to keep to himself, and not much of a people person, but from the moment I met him I found him to be not really that at all. I am only glad that I got to know him, and only sad that it was for so short a time. I’m glad we know you guys and look forward to however much more time we all have with you guys. There’s clearly no guarantee … but I trust the One who knows our days. And in that trust I can live and take in the fullness of the now he has me in. I’m so sorry for your hurt – so sudden and so powerful. There’s nothing we can do to change that, but we’ll be going through it along side you. Glad we can. See you all soon.

      Reply

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