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On the patio

Today was supposed to be a kick-back kind of day.  We didn’t have to get up early, and in the afternoon, we were going to my parents’ house for dinner with my brothers and sister-in-law.

I made breakfast for the boys, cleaned up the kitchen and then stretched back out on our bed, enjoying the cool breeze through open windows and not having to rush anywhere.  I talked to friends online, and messed around on my laptop, half listening to silly chick flicks on Oxygen.

It’s the best kind of Sunday…chores are done, family time on the horizon, the boys watching football.

I had just roused myself & taken a shower when my mother called.  She asked what our schedule was, and I could tell by her voice that something was wrong.

“Mike Elinski died this morning.”

Mike was my cousins’ father.  He and my Aunt had divorced when Michael, Amy and I were all just kids, but he’d been the more stable of the two parents for my cousins as they grew up.

I hadn’t had a lot of contact with Uncle Mike over the last several years, though he did come to my grandmother’s funeral last November.  He was always a soft-spoken, nice man.  Sweet.  I remember him as he looked in the ’70’s, when he was still married to my aunt.  He was good-looking, with dark hair and a beard…think Ben Affleck in Argo.

We still don’t know exactly what happened…only that he wasn’t feeling well this morning.  He took a couple of Aleve and went into his bedroom.  His wife found him a short time later on the floor.  She tried to perform CPR, as did the paramedics that came, to no avail.  Uncle Mike was sixty-two.

I haven’t gotten to speak to Amy today, except via text messages.  She doesn’t live right here in the Valley, so I can’t rush over and put my arms around her.  She’s the closest thing that I’ve ever had to a sister, and I know how much she and her brother are hurting tonight.

We’re getting to the age that these sorts of things start to happen.  In my head, I know this.  I’m getting older, and so are our parents.  It doesn’t take away the shock of the sudden death of a relatively healthy man.

Dave, the kids and I spent the afternoon with my parents, my brothers and my sister-in-law.  We sat outside on the patio, misters running to cool us down.  Birds chirped noisily in the trees and we laughed and enjoyed each other.

Today, I give thanks that I was able to have my family together.

I’m participating in #30daysofThanks, inspired by my friend, Amanda, over at www.memydogsmylife.com. We are finding one thing each day in November to be grateful for. Join in! Just use the tag #30daysofThanks and blog or Tweet your daily item.

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