Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The monkey's uncle

I grew up on an acreage with lots and lots of cats. They were a comfort when I was lonely and needed something with which to cuddle.

I could use a fuzzy plaything right now. It's been a crazy start to the school year for my girls. Not the fun kind of crazy either. It's been the kind of crazy that makes this 30-something-year-old girl seek shelter from the world in the quilt my mom gave her for Christmas.

But I can't. My own children are looking to me for strength.

The phone pulled me from a twilight state early Saturday morning. My mom asked if my oldest daughter was home, and then she asked if we'd heard about the accident.

"The accident?" As I parroted these words, the memory of blaring sirens the night before flittered through my head. They were close to my house, and I remembered thinking -- as my youngest daughter's birthday party carried on -- that I should gather my family to pray for those being tended to.

"There was a bad accident last night and a carload of kids from Pierce were involved," my mother said.

I later discovered one of my daughter's schoolmates -- a young man just starting his junior year -- lost his life in the accident. Two young girls -- both younger than my daughter -- were seriously injured.

Over the weekend, I tried to be there for Molly as she asked questions or sat in contemplative silence.

"I just keep thinking. . . what if. . .?"

What if she had gone to the soap scrimmage at the high school? What if she'd have talked to those kids? What if talking to them would have delayed their journey away from town by even a second or two?

The what-if questions seemed endless, and at first, I didn't know how to respond.

But then I realized something...

How would she have known if her presence had changed the outcome or prevented this tragedy? Maybe her words or actions or even just her smile has made a positive impact on someone's life already.

How do any of us know when we've touched another person's life? It's like a random act of kindness paid forward. We may never know our impact on someone else's hour, someone's day or the path of someone's life.

My Uncle Al lost his battle with emphysema and COPD during the night last night. Even though I knew he wasn't well, I never took the opportunity to tell him about the impact he made on my life -- how his wit always cracked me up and how I loved how his one-line quips always one-upped my dad's. I never took the opportunity to point out the fact that whenever he told me and my cousins that we were acting like monkeys that it made him a monkey's uncle. (I know he'd have loved that one.)

I guess what I want to say is you never know how your actions could impact someone's life. And the people who impact you won't know they've touched you either unless you tell them.

So, here's an e-hug to all of you who've encouraged me in one way or another in my writing, in my music and in my life.

I appreciate the knowledge and cyber friendship that you all have offered.

Now, appreciate the knowledge Stevie Ray passes on in this video. Enjoy his musicianship, and then go tell someone how they've touched your life. (And don't smoke.)

* * *
"The Long Road to Heaven" by Kathryn Harris, a story of addiction and forgiveness, is available now on Amazon. 


KM Wilsher said...

Nicely done, Kat. I lost a friend last week to alcohol. I am sorry about your uncle and your daughters school mate. I've been doing some soul searching myself. You have been a light on the net, yourself.
Keep on, sister/friend :)

Eva Gallant said...

You're right, we don't know sometimes how we've impacted someone's life, but the knowledge that we may should keep us aware and determined to make only positive differences.

Excellent post once again, Kat.

Anonymous said...

Nicely said, Kat.
Wow. What a yank right into reality, huh?

I'm sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing it with us and reminding us to get in touch with those close to us.

Hang in there, my friend.

jules said...

I'm so sorry to hear what a trying week you are having. I'm thinking of your daughter and her loss. It's so hard to understand a life lost at such a young age. It must be difficult to not only be there for her, but morn the loss of your uncle at the same time. All you can do is be there for each other as a family. And if you need to curl up in your Christmas quilt for a good cry, there is no shame in that.

molly said...

i never usually post but this made me think about how much my friends meen to me. the thought of losing someone else. thanx mom. lots of tears

Cody said...

you never really think about it until someone else sets the facts out in front of you... This article really makes you think...

AJJ said...

That makes you think about what you have and who loves you. An you will never know when somebody you loves will be gone. So you always have too love them because they could be gone any minute. Also, you can write very well, and I feel sad for you and good luck.

Rosslyn Elliott said...

Kat - You and your family will be in my prayers. Thank you for your honesty. It's always a privilege for me to read your blog and share your thoughts. You're a courageous soul.

christine said...

Thank you Kat, for sharing this reminder that we can never, ever REALY know the impact we have on another life. All we can do is make a commitment every hour to do the best we can to contribute to the joy and light on the planet - and not feed the darkness.

Beyond that, it really is in His hands.

*hugs* for you and your family!

ElanaJ said...

Super hugs, Kat. The "what if" questions could be endless. And it's just like that song in Wicked. "You have changed my life for good."

So thanks. :0

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Tragedies like that break my heart and make me realize just how fragile life is. I know we are incapable of understanding so many things, but I do believe that even in the freedom God has given us, He will attempt to make something good come out of these tragedies if we just let Him.