• Brian Gallagher

A moment of pause

Why hello there dear readers, I hope you are well. There’s a bit of a change of pace to this weeks’ column because I’ve been feeling reflective lately and somewhat melancholy. Let me take you back to this past weekend:

My bestest half and I were winding down on Friday after a good day of chores and tasks around the house. I had just finished making the happy hour martinis when the phone rang with tragic news. The rest of the weekend we just hung around the house and although we did get some leaves raked and patio work accomplished on Saturday we spent most of it trying to get our heads around the sudden and unexpected death of our brother-in-law.

He and his wife who recently celebrated 40 years of marriage were also celebrating the fact that three weeks ago they both finally retired from the rat race and were ready to go out and do all the things they had talked about for so long. First item on the agenda was a majestic three week excursion for two in South Africa. A trip they had always wanted to do for years. While away he sent a video back to his daughter of his magical birthday where tribesmen had him up dancing and chanting around a fire in traditional garb. Truly a magical moment and a wonderful kick-start to their new life of leisure.

But last Friday, during their return voyage home, while waiting to board the plane in the airport in Qatar, he collapsed from a massive heart attack and died almost immediately with his darling by his side who could only helplessly watch her love of 42 years slide away into the dark. She was in an instant a widow, and alone in a foreign country 10,000 km from home. Foreign language, foreign customs, and no-one to help her process and work through this impossible situation. To make things worse, she had to spend 12 hours in the police station answering questions and filling out forms. Alone.

They were my age. He was my age. And cruelly, suddenly, everything he had worked and strived for his entire life was unceremoniously taken. Gone. And his poor life-long partner now will return home to an empty cold house with their bags, the gifts they bought for family, their photos and memories of the three weeks of life he was allotted after working for over 40 years. Unfair? Maybe. Cruel? Certainly.

So why do I feel the need to share this personal family tragedy with you beautiful people? Because I want you to think about what is important in your lives. I do not pretend to know what that is but you do. Do not waste another moment – go do it. Even if it is a small weekend trip, a visit to relatives you have been putting off, an afternoon of your favourite activity, a trip to that restaurant you’ve been meaning to try, etc.… and while you are at it take a good look at the ones around you and tell them how much they mean to you. Imagine that they are taken away from you suddenly, because it can happen so take no day or no person for granted my friends.

While you are reading this my dear friends I will be at the funeral of a kind giving man whom I have had the pleasure of knowing for almost 20 years. When I saw him four weeks ago I wish I would have taken the time to let him know how much his kindness and conversations meant to me.

You can always share your arts info with me at kickinthearts@yourlocaljournal.ca and I’ll be back in a week’s time to hear you out.


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