Plans Undone

My dad died suddenly of a heart attack on April 7, 2003. A few days later, Steve and I and my mom were going through his stuff and I found myself looking at his day planner. As I flipped through the pages, I saw that he had penciled in a men’s AA meeting for that day, and lunch with friends after. I saw a receipt for the ring he bought my mom for her 60th birthday the week before. I saw notes about financial plans they were making together.

I freaked out. I remember saying “all these plans and he didn’t know he wasn’t going to be here…” I started to cry, in almost a panicky “I can’t handle the tragedy of that thought” kind of way, and Steve took me out of the room to calm down.

I thought time and reflection had made that concept easier, but apparently it has not. I was discussing this with Steve last night and again this morning with the president of the company here (he and I are friends on that level) and it was only in trying to articulate this that I even cried about Mike for the first time.

Of course I am sad about losing Mike in and of itself. He was truly a friend, much more than a coworker or acquaintance, loss is loss, and I am hurting. But it is this “plans unfulfilled” thing that seems to kill me the most.

He and his wife were supposed to go to Ireland in August for their 20th anniversary. He had some stuff in the works for investments for early retirement. He had all kinds of projects going on his property and his side business. He even had plans with me and Steve. Steve still has an email from him from the week before last about the replanting we were going to do together in the summer and fall.

It’s difficult for me to wrap my head around sudden death, the idea that all these plans that someone had will be left undone. They were here and thinking they would be around for future adventures and celebrations with their partner, their kids, their grandkids, and then… nothing.

It’s difficult to put it into the right words just how hard that idea is for my heart to accept. And in 12 years, it hasn’t become any easier to comprehend. I still find it tragically, heart-wrenchingly sad. I suppose all people do.

Anyway. The service is tomorrow. Hopefully I can at least get a little closure from that.


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