There are Flies on the Windshield

Amazingly, it has been a week since 32 people’s lives were ended early by a very disgruntled man on a college campus.  Over the past week I’ve done much thinking about death, having witnessed it first hand and from afar.  It really is a tough topic to contemplate as I’m preparing to be a parent.  For whatever reason it really changes your outlook.

Not only did those 32 people die in the past week, but a family friend of my wife’s passed on Friday night.  She was 88 years old and so incredibly full of life.  I met her a couple times and her presence will definitely be missed.  Her family runs a publishing company for horticulture books and will continue to do so in her absence.

When a loved one is lost, it causes us to slow down and reflect on our own lives.  Are we doing what we want to do with our lives?  What’s our purpose?  Am I happy?  How can this happen?  What about my will?  How will I be remembered?  Do we have emergency plans in place?

All sorts of questions, thoughts, and worries race through our minds.  There are days when life seems completely unbearable and you’re not sure how you can move on.   Somehow though, it does happen and the wounds heal slightly each day.  It’s not a fast process and doesn’t progress at the same rate for everyone.   When my siblings passed away I was in shock and didn’t know where to turn.  I thankfully have incredibly supportive friends who were willing to listen, providing me with an outlet for my emotions.  The first few days were absolutely painful and then days became weeks and weeks became months. 

Personally my brother’s death triggered an awakening in my life.  In 1991 one of my siblings died in a car accident.  I think the first 18 years of my life were blissfully ignorant of the world around me.   Even after losing my first sibling in 1989, I shut down a bit and didn’t fully deal with his loss.  I made sure this wasn’t the case in 1991.  I came out of my shell when my brother passed away.  The sudden nature of his loss shook me to the core.   I took his death to signify how life is about living and enjoying it to the fullest.  This can be a drawback as I don’t think long-term as often as I should.  However, I think it enables me to enjoy "the now" and appreciate the small things. 

I would do anything in the world to bring both of my siblings back.  It has been far too long since they last invaded my dreams, but their memories always linger.  They’ve never left my thoughts as there’s not one day since either of their deaths where I didn’t think about them.   Death can be a lot like birth, a reason to celebrate life.

——————

TODAY’S RULED OUT BABY NAMES: Andrea, Donna, Cindy, Gina, Brenda, and Camille. (theme = girls of Beverly Hills 90210)

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About lessinges

Seattle native, discovering life! I like ice cream, cold cereal, and The Amazing Race.
This entry was posted in Facial Tissue. Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to There are Flies on the Windshield

  1. Amanda says:

    I’m so truly sorry to hear about your wife’s friend.
    But yes, death can be a lot like birth. My aunt passed away from cancer when I was a sophomore. The day she passed, I received a card from my secret santa from school. The card had a quote that has been with me ever since and sits on my desk no matter where I work. It’s a Native American Proverb:
    “When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.”

  2. danny says:

    Hi egan, long time no talky.
    Death is a tough pill to swallow.
    My grandmother passed away this January, it was hard to look back on the memories, and know that she’s gone.
    what’s with the baby names?

  3. Rachel says:

    I have lost some grandparents but no one incredibly close to me like a sibling or parent.
    One grandparent died when I was 6 and don’t remember much about it. The other two passed when I was older but I wasn’t close to them.
    I don’t know what I will do when my Nana dies. She is someone that I am really close to.
    I find myself pulling away from her bit by bit. She is 86 and I worry that she won’t be here for long and I am slowly closing myself off. I hate that I am doing it but I can’t seem to help myself.
    I know that no matter how much I pull away (and distance helps) I will be devastated when she is gone.
    I have fond memories of my great grandmother before she passed. I still think of her often.

  4. Chris Durano says:

    Hey Egan.
    I’m sorry to hear about Nancy’s friend passing away…sorry to all the Virginia Tech families too. It sounds like Nancy’s friend had a very full and great life. Kudos to you for really putting down your armor and expressing your feelings and emotions. This probably explains why you have such a huge following and get so many comments. You’ve got a great life and I wouldn’t be too worried about the legacy you’ll leave behind :-)!

  5. Burr-ee-toe says:

    I just heard today that there were a couple of people at the resort hotel where my friend works at in Laguna Beach who were waving around guns while naked. In the end they were both shot, but I was definitely worried for a bit and called my friend this morning to make sure everything was okay with her. As much as it sucks, it is so true that there is nothing like death to make you appreciate life.

  6. Brooke says:

    I can’t even imagine what it would be like to lose two siblings. You’re a strong guy.

  7. egan says:

    Amanda – I absolutely love that quote. Thank you for sharing such a personal story.
    Danny – hello again. How’s the other side of the state? Losing grandparents can really sneak up on you. The baby names? Well, you see there’s this woman I’m married to. She and I had an intimate encounter last year and sometimes those can lead to things known as humans. So there you have it.
    Rachel – at least you’re aware you’re doing that with her. Try not to, you’ll feel bad when she passes. I know a bit about this because my grandparents died of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. So hard not too pull away when they don’t recognize you.
    Chris Durano – you know me all too well, having lived with me for a year had to be tough enough. I really appreciate the sincere comments. My thoughts are with those families too, it’s not easy to grip a tragedy of that magnitude. Thanks again for the kind sentiments.
    Burr-ee-toe – wow, that had to be a bizarre scene. I’m very happy your friend is okay. Now go get some pink ice cream.
    Brooke – thanks Brooke. It’s not something I wish on anyone else. It’s a long struggle, but things do get better as time passes.

  8. Good for Me says:

    Arm – I love that quote too!
    Eegs – i love the things you share. strangly enough my sister’s mother-in-law passed away last Wednesday…two days after V-Tech. happens that her father-in-law went to VA Tech. They still live in VA. Needless to say it’s been a very difficult week. I myself have never had a loved one other than a grandparent die. I really don’t know that grief and suffering. But I feel for you and others who have lost loved ones too soon. I know that process of loss and grief and healing is painful. Yet as you’ve said, also life giving.

  9. justrun says:

    A lot of times, with tragedy and death, we’re told to concentrate on moving on. To mourn, then go back to normal life. I don’t think it happens that way. Rather, I think we find a new normal. This, I hope, is the best way to be and to honor those we miss in our own way. We don’t have to dwell, but we don’t have to pretend we’re not forever changed, either.
    I can imagine this wasn’t a simple post for you- you did well with it.

  10. furiousball says:

    I agree with the sentiment that death is also a celebration of life. I find myself giving more extra hugs to the wife and kiddos when a funeral happened. I need to hold on to those thoughts of being thankful more often.

  11. Airam says:

    Very beautiful post. Death in itself can be extremely devastating but you bring a more hopeful outlook to it and it’s something that everybody needs to help them finally move on and live their life to the fullest.

  12. tori says:

    When I first was diagnosed with my cancer, I sort of thought of it as a reminder to love my people a little extra every day because you just never know. I try really hard to remember that now that the crisis is over, because none of us truly know how long we have anyway. Beautiful post!

  13. Chris says:

    I’ve always found birth and death almost as similar as they are different.
    Both often have some profound effect on those affected and that affect is often different in each instance based on where in life the affected is and of course, the relationship to the newly born or dead.

  14. kate says:

    i can’t imagine losing two siblings.

  15. Lynn says:

    Death certainly does make one appreciate life! I am so sorry for the loss of a family friend of your wife, as well as the loss of two of your brothers.

  16. Leezer says:

    Hi Egan:
    I’m sorry that you have lost two siblings, and for losing your 88 year old friend.
    I believe it is true that you think about death a lot more when you’re a parent. You think about your own death, hoping it doesn’t happen until your little one doesn’t need you anymore, and you think about how you would survive the death of a child. I don’t dwell on these issues per se, but they’re much more prevalent in my life.
    I know where I’m going and I have no fear of death. However, I fear losing someone I love and having to live on without them. I admire you for having gone through this experience. It must make you appreciate every day and you’ll undoubdedly be a better parent because of it.

  17. churlita says:

    I’ve been an orphan since I was 10 years old. It’s made me really appreciate the people I love while I have them. It’s much better than taking everyone for granted until it’s too late.

  18. egan says:

    Good for Me – leave it to ARM to use all the cool quotes. Be thankful you haven’t encountered a close personal loss yet. It’s not something I wish on anyone, but there are positives to be gained. Good luck to you your extended family in the next few weeks and thanks for the compliment.
    Justrun – that’s a really good point. The mourn and move on practice doesn’t work for everyone, nor should it. I like what you say about the “new normal”. Like birth, this are never quite the same with a loved one’s passing. I did shed a tear or two as I recalled some of the details in this post. Thanks for your kind words.
    Furiousball – you seem to me like someone who doesn’t take things for granted these days. Good for you.
    Airam – thanks for the nice words regarding the post. There’s something to celebrate in someone’s passing. I’ve heard so many great stories about those who lost their lives in Virginia. I’m happy most of the families are beaming when talking about their lost loved ones.
    Tori – yep, it does make you think about our time on this planet. We really don’t know how long we could be so why not make the most of it. I can’t imagine the cancer ordeal you’ve been through. I’ve read some of your posts and it reminds me how brave cancer patients are and were.
    Chris – you’re right, there are many similarities between death and birth. The topic of death has been on my mind lots with the VA Tech stuff.
    kate – welcome to my blog. Hopefully you won’t have to imagine the loss of two siblings anytime soon or ever. Thanks for the visit.
    Lynn – aw, thanks for the sympathies. My siblings passed away awhile ago, but I do appreciate your sentiments.
    Leezer – the loss did teach me many lessons. I think the most enduring message is enjoy life and try not to take things for granted. There are some very dark times after personal tragedies, As an expectant parent your view of the world changes in every aspect, including death. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
    Churlita – wow, I didn’t know you’ve been an orphan all those years. I bet you did learn at an early age to appreciate so many things. I’m thankful my parents are still alive, but someday that will change. Thank you Churlita.

  19. sizzle says:

    that is so well said egan. from losing my father and my grandmother and my work with hospice, i have the same philosophy about death.

  20. Mone says:

    So many of my close friends and familie passed already and it was a big hurt for sure. Strangely I find myself having them rigth next to me as life goes on, sometimes I even catch myself talking to them in my mind. Am I weird?

  21. brookem says:

    I really enjoyed this post. As Airam said, you help to bring some hope to a clearly devastating occurance.
    I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your family friend, and your two siblings.
    Okay, and on a sidenote- the names. At first I was thinking 90210… but a couple of the names threw me. Hmm. Unless! Maybe you’re going from an Aaron Spelling genre? I didn’t watch Melrose so perhaps I’m on to something?

  22. egan says:

    Sizzle – yeah, I really think it’s about celebration. Of course there’s sadness that accompanies death, but there’s much to be gained from each person’s passing.
    Mone – you’re not weird at all for having your loved ones next to you, living or not.
    Brookem – thanks for your what you said regarding the post. That Airam woman is a wise person. I bet she’s an incredible teacher. I love how thoughtful you are about the Ruled Out Baby Names. Don’t second guess yourself. You’re right with the 90210 theme. I didn’t use Kelly since it would make it way too obvious.

  23. brookem says:

    who are gina and camille? or is that to throw us off?

  24. egan says:

    Brookem – you really don’t know Camille and Gina? Camille is the blonde woman David dated towards the end of the show. She worked with Donna in her Now Where This clothing store. Do you remember her? Gina also dated David. Man, he’s such a whore! She was played by Vanessa Marcil of Las Vegas and Prince fame.

  25. Party Girl says:

    I can’t imagine the loss you and your family felt, and feel, after losing two children/siblings.
    However, if there is a lesson to be lerned after any death, it is to live for the now.
    One of the most powerful moments for me was when my sister-in-laws sister was in her Hospice bed and she kept talking in the past tense.
    “..I was going to.. I meant to..I wish I would have…when I had time I was going to…”
    It really hit me. That is my my moto. No living in the past tense. No more putting my life on hold.

  26. egan says:

    Party Girl – that’s a fantastic way to learn this particular lesson. Damn that past tense, bring on the future tense! It really must suck to have heard her talk like that and know you have all these opportunities. Carpe diem.

  27. Burr-ee-toe says:

    I want the bubble gum ice cream so bad. But I also need to fit into my wedding dress! Decisions, decisions.

  28. Candace says:

    I’m a very “in the now” person, too. I’m pretty sucky at recalling a lot of stuff that’s happened to me, but I enjoy most of my moments. 🙂 I do need to plan ahead better, though.

  29. Lynda says:

    Events like Monday always hit me harder since my sister died a year and a half ago. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about her, and I kind of hope it is always that way. Makes me glad to think that you still think of your lost siblings too.
    The loss of my sister has affected me more than the death of my grandparents, my aunt or my uncle. But I can only imagine they are having a big party somewhere. 🙂

  30. egan says:

    Burr-ee-toe – you haven’t had any bubble gum ice cream yet? You really need to quench the bubble gum craving. Do it now!
    Candace – I get that impression about you. It’s usually a good thing, but it can have some drawbacks such as future planning and possibly work performance.
    Lynda – wow, so sorry to hear about you losing your sister in 2005. I’m glad a day doesn’t go by where you forget about her. It’s important to keep them alive in your head. It’s really interesting how loss impacts us in different ways.

  31. L says:

    This is a lovely post. Thanks for reminding us to live in the moment, if even just for one.

  32. CS says:

    I’ve lost a brother to an accident – it’s a shock when you get a reminder of how very fragile life is. All the more reason to celebrate it.

  33. egan says:

    L – anytime Seattlite, anytime. I get the feeling this isn’t something you need to be reminded of often. When do you and 2.0 leave town?
    CS – sorry to hear about the loss of your sibling. Accidents are so hard since it’s so sudden. When my other brother died of AIDS in 1989, we had time to come to grips with his fast fade. Yes, celebrate life is what I say.

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