We never know how much time we have

Last night my grand-uncle went to sleep for the last time.

First thing this morning I took my son shopping.  We came out of the store about 6:45 to find medics near my car, administering CPR to someone.  Although I’ve held a first aid/CPR card since junior high (thus practiced on a mannequin for many years), this was the first time I’ve seen it done for real.  It would be fine with me if it’s also the last time I ever need to see it.  Truth be told, I was more concerned with the guy’s friend than seeing what they were doing.  She looked so distraught.  Can you imagine having to go through something like that alone?  I went over and gave her a shoulder to cry on.  It’s so sad that more people don’t know that heart attacks sometimes present with throat problems instead of chest pain.  I learned a little about our local EMS – they’re allowed to stop and call the coroner if it’s futile, and don’t have to transport to the hospital when a doctor won’t be able to help.

Uncle had a good, long life.  We will miss him.  The guy this morning didn’t look nearly old enough for his life to be over.  We just never know.

A friend recently gave me a book.  It was excellent, and seems particularly appropriate to recent events.


Here’s hoping you’re having a better day.


5 thoughts on “We never know how much time we have

  1. May their memories be eternal. I agree that your great-uncle had lived a long life. I hope it was rich and enjoyable.

    As far as the younger man, I hope it was quick and painless.

    As an old Irish Blessing goes, “may you be in Heaven half and hour before the Devil knows you are dead!”

    I’m sure you were a comfort to the friend. You must have been there at that place and time in order to do just that.

  2. Sorry to hear about your great uncle! I am glad he died in such a peaceful way though. That is a real blessing.

    I actually worked as a hospital chaplain so saw several “codes” and they are really traumatic to watch! A necessary thing, but also spent a lot of time educating families when the doctors thought it was futile, but needed family permission to stop. I’m glad that friend had you there for support. I knew you were a kind person :).

  3. I’m very sorry to hear about your great uncle. I suppose if you have to go, going in your sleep is a blessing. My uncle died the same way. He went to the symphony, had a wonderful evening and came home to sit in his favorite chair. He died while he was asleep in that chair. He had no pain and died peacefully.
    I have actually done CPR on someone and I would imagine it is as terrible to watch as it is to perform. It is important for people to know that pain in the jaw is also a sign of a possible heart attack. Until this happened to him I never knew about the jaw pain and thought he was just getting a cold. He was only 42 so who would think heart attack.
    I’m sure your being there was a comfort to his friend. Sorry you had to experience the event. It amazes me how we can be here one minute and just gone the next. A reminder to live life to its fullest, it is a great gift RA or not.

  4. I’m so sorry for your loss. And sorry you had to see the other guy too.

    I saw CPR done once and it was something that really stuck with me. So different from how you learn in CPR class. I mean the steps are the same but with a real person it is just so much more.

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