I am very lucky….

Several things have happened in the last while to impress upon me just how very lucky I am…

I don’t mean that I have a great lifestyle or lots of money so am “lucky”.

“Luck” often is used in the sense of “winning” something…. the lottery, having gotten a good job… things like that. In this case, I mean that in managing to survive thus far in life, I am lucky. To have the people around me that care for and love me… I am lucky.

We often take for granted what we have in life, either not appreciating just WHAT we do have and frittering it away or forgetting the fact that others don’t have it so good. Occasionally, we are faced with the fact that a split second may well have been the difference between life and death. Occasionally, we come so close to death that it makes us step back and think…. “I could have died”….

Occasionally, it is the fate of someone we know or someone who shared an experience but did not survive that pulls us up short and makes us question “Why them and why not me?”

That “moment” for me was faced last Saturday.

As I have mentioned in this blog, I recently had an accident that could have been far, far worse than it was. For reasons I won’t go into, it has been impressed (by others but also by myself) on me just HOW “lucky” I was to come out relatively unscathed. I have some broken bones and some pretty bad bruises but even though other people look at me and say “Man, what a horrible ordeal you went through!”, I just laugh it off and say… “No. I am very lucky and I am not about to complain about the “inconvenience” of a few broken bones and some bruises”.

Firstly, there is my dear friend, az. Az lives in Seville, Spain. Az and I have never met in person but in a very real way, I feel I know her very well. Az has been faced with a battle with cancer, firstly colon and now liver. Like most people with cancer, she is not braver or stonger than any other human being. She admits to having her fears and moments of anger. But like most people, she is fighting the battle in the way that it has to be fought.

In some ways, she is luckier than most in that she has a large circle of friends who are medical professionals who have been helping her with facts and the very real challenge of negotiating the medical maze. She is lucky, too, in that these people all know and love her and they are doing what they can in very real ways both to help guide her but also to support her emotionally. She also has a large circle of friends, many whom she has never met but many who she has welcomed to her home in Seville with open arms. All of us love her and hope for the best and want to see her come victorious out of this fight for her life.

For az, her “moment” is proving to be very long, indeed.

On Friday night, just before I was heading out to Smiths Falls to watch Rob, Ray, and Ken play, I got a call from my dear friend Robert. Robert called to ask if I remembered someone named Chris Davis from work.

I do, indeed remember Chris. Chris worked at Indian Residential Schools Resolutions Canada with me until he left to move to Austin, Texas. Dave was such a nice guy… Funny, articulate, intelligent, just a nice guy who was great to work with. He was also a very talented musician. Dave had undergone a transformation in his life, losing weight, getting fit, making some other major changes that eventually culminated in his moving down to Austin.

Despite the fact that I didn’t know him well… we didn’t socialize, it was hard to say goodbye to him because I was just getting to know this really great person, it was hard not to be excited for him because HE was so excited about the move.

I emailed him a couple of times when he got down there and mentioned him to a friend who lives in Austin (who works at the Alamo Drafthouse) but then he kind of dropped off my radar.

Robert’s next words were one of those “pull you up short” moments. “Chris was killed last Saturday on his bike”.

That means that on the day when I was nearly killed, Chris WAS killed….

It is useless to wonder “Why him and not me?”. It is and it was. The fact is that whatever happened, but for a split second…. I might me dead and he might not be. But for a split second, we might both be dead… or neither. Our accidents weren’t related. In fact, they were separated by thousands of miles. The coincidence is that both of us endured life-altering moments. Both of our moments are, in some way permanent, though his will affect all those who knew and loved him in ways my moment will not.

He doesn’t have the luxury of viewing his moment and appreciating his luck. I do.

But for the grace of… God? .. whatever, here I am and there he was.

I can’t say that the rest of my life will be dedicated to the memory of Chris but I will always be mindful that I have the luxury of, at least this time, looking back on that moment in my life with amazement and, hopefully, live better and clearer than I did up to that moment… not take so much for granted the feeling of entitlement to immortality that we humans often have.

My “luck” was also to know az and to have known Chris.

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