Sometimes it does seem like the bad news comes all at once.
And surprisingly, it's when that bad news affects people close to you, that you have to watch them go through it, is somehow worse, much worse actually, than things that happen to you personally.
My Dad, as I've written, did swing pretty close to death but he's now being watched by cardiologists and endocrinologists and other-ologists and if he pays attention and doesn't act too stupid he'll come through this pretty much intact. Still call every night, but (crossing fingers)the danger has pretty much passed.
My sister Shannon's baby was hospitalized because a) he lost almost half his birth weight in a week and b) couldn't breathe, besides. He's still in there, getting his blood transfused and all, but Shannon's been through this at least six times before with her other kids (seriously, is it cool or just odd that you know the nighttime emergency room lineup by name? Hey, Dr. Bob!). Concerned, yes, but we know the drill by now.
Well, last night my brother left three messages on my phone to call him. He barely calls me at all, let alone three times.
Well, it turns out his wife Lisa has a huge malignant tumor growing in her colon and totally blocking one of the other lower pipes, I forget which. It's serious - real serious. She goes in for surgery next Friday.
Lisa's pretty young, about forty, I think. She's got five kids, ranging from almost one to eleven.
Her parents are coming out Monday, and my parents are coming Tuesday and staying at my house (which is six miles from Sean and Lisa's) and possibly my brother's coming out Friday, so she'll have plenty of support.
This isn't really supposed to be one of those "poor me" posts. Anything that happens to me is pretty much nada compared to what's happening to others - I know that.
But to have three people who are very close to you come that close to death in the space of a week, well, it makes you think.
There are those people who claim that if God wants you, he's going to take you and there's not a whole lot you can do about it when your time comes.
I understand their point, but I also have one of my own (point, the joke is old):
A man was trapped by the flooding Mississippi, and a boat came to get him from his doorstep. "God will help me," he said, refusing the aid. The water came higher, so he went to the upper story. Another boat came by, but he refused to get in, saying "God will help me!" The waters really rose, so he had to go the roof, and a helicopter came by. Once again, he refused - "God will help me!" So the copter left, the waters rose further, and he drowned.
The man gets to heaven and sees God. "Uh, God? Why didn't you help me?"
God looks at him and says "What do mean? I sent two boats and a helicopter!"
Live while you can. No one ever died wishing they could have attended just one more meeting.
Anyway, if you get a chance, say a prayer for my sister-in-law.
Aand since I'm her only relative outside of California, say one for me too - I have a feeling I'm gonna need it. ;)