Monday Smiles – 10/15/2012

Last Wednesday, when I arrived home from volunteering at the local 12-Step office, my son was waiting for me.  I have some bad news, he said.  Jake passed away.   Jake was my son’s age, 38.   In the years from 1980 to 1987, Jake played on my son’s soccer team, the Lazers.  I was the coach.  Jake was one of my favorite players, an excellent goalkeeper who loved the game and always seemed to be smiling.   When my daughter began to play, I coached her team, too, and Jake’s sister, Sarah, played for me.  We spent a lot of time on the soccer field … and at team parties … with Jake and Sarah’s parents.  As often happens with soccer parents, we became friends … and as often happens, when the kids reached high school and went their own ways, we lost touch.

My son, Aaron, heard about Jake’s passing on Facebook, which seems to be replacing old fashioned obituaries as a means of disseminating such news.  Jake had a heart attack on the same day he brought his prematurely born son home from the hospital.  Jake’s Mom gave him CPR, keeping him alive until the paramedics came.   He survived for five days but in the end, passed away.  We attended a memorial luncheon yesterday, more of a celebration than a memorial.   The only people we knew were Jake’s parents, Sarah, and Jake’s older brother … they were all happy to see us and touched that we came.  We met Jake’s wife and and a newborn son who will never know his Dad.   Everyone seemed to be doing remarkably well except Jake’s Mom, who fought tears every time we talked.   We stayed for about forty-five minutes then came home, tired and sad.

I’m having a hard time coming up with smiles this Monday, even though my USC Trojans won and Muri and I had a nice Date Night, dinner at BJ’s Grill and Argo at the local theater.   Sometimes life just seems so unfair that I want to scream, God, what are you thinking?  I wonder why God would take a newborn baby’s Dad.    But part of choosing to believe is accepting that I don’t get to understand such things.   What I get to do is notice how precious life is and how fleeting.   I get to be thankful that my son is alive, though he sometimes makes me crazy and I get to be happy my grandkids have their Dad (though he sometimes makes me crazy).  I get to wake up and say, Thank You, God, for another day and I get to give Muri an extra hug or two.  I get to remember how lucky I am.  And I get to be thankful that I knew Jake, however briefly.

It’s Monday. I’m going to smile … anyway.

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6 Comments on “Monday Smiles – 10/15/2012”

  1. cherperz Says:

    Bud that is so sad. It doesn’t seem right that someone so young and just starting a family would tragically pass. You are right, in the fact, we have to accept things we can’t understand and be grateful for our blessings.

  2. I am so terribly sorry to hear this incredibly sad news. My whole heart goes out to everyone.

  3. Oh, I’m so sorry for Jake’s family. Such a terrible time to go. I only hope that the baby’s new life gives moments joy that might otherwise be empty. The timing is otherwise just completely unfathmoable. If it helps… I personally don’t believe God “takes.” I believe He receives. God gives us life; life gives us death. God welcomes us home. When nothing else makes sense… this does, to me.

  4. territerri Says:

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your friend, so sorry for his wife and son, parents and family. Even though we know there’s a bigger picture, it’s sometimes hard to see it through grief.

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