Monday, July 27, 2009

Family and death

My dad called about an hour and a half ago. I had an odd feeling when he called because it's a Monday and I couldn't think of any reason why he'd need to call. Well, he did have a reason and it wasn't a good one. His best friend Carl died of a heart attack yesterday. He died alone, in his car, a block from home. A stranger found him and called 911. By the time emergency crews got there, he was gone.

I'd always considered Carl my uncle. He'd been friends with my dad for much longer than I've been alive. We've done family vacations with Carl, his wife, and their 2 daughters (both not much younger than me). I was on a bowling team with my dad and Carl for about 4 or 5 years. I remember finding his obsession with The Beatles to be kinda funny.

I last saw Carl on Opening Day at AT&T Park with my dad, brother, and my dad's other friend John. It was good to see everyone that day, especially Carl. I hadn't seen him since I moved out of my parents house 5 years ago and stopped bowling with my dad.

Carl is the first close family member I've lost since my great-grandmother died when I was 12. I'd pretty much forgotten what loss like this feels like. It's hard to comprehend that I'll never see him again. He was so young - the same age as my dad, in his mid-50's. And such a funny guy.

His wife, Paula, is beside herself. My dad says she's really kind of lost. She lost her husband and best friend. Both of their kids aren't home anymore - the youngest is in college, but at least she's only in Sonoma, so she's not that far away, and the other is married and teaching in southern California. I can't think of Paula ever being without Carl. They're two peas in a pod. I cannot imagine the anguish she's feeling right now. But I will pray that God gives her strength. I know she's going to need it.

There's a rosary on Thursday night and the funeral is Friday. My dad's going to be a pallbearer. I'm going to find coverage for Friday's shift so I can be there. I can't even imagine not going.

In any case, be sure to hold your loved ones close and tell them you love them everyday. You never know if it's the last time you'll see them.

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