We’ve all said it: “Man, that was a rough week” or “I’ve had the worst week.” I know I’ve said, and I really even believed it was true. At least, until this week. After this week, I know that none of the times I thought I’d had the “worst” week were really as bad as they could be.
I’ve had bad weeks; even extremely bad weeks. I’ve lost both of my grandmothers, beloved pets, and jobs. My parents have separated. My worst week ever was when I suffered a miscarriage over 13 years ago. That was bad. It took me years to deal with and learn to move on from that tragic loss. But this week I realized that even that week could have been worse.
It started on Sunday with the news that a cousin of mine in Ohio was in a terrible head-on collision. She, her husband and three young children were struck by a car on a two-lane highway. They are a young family: She’s 27, her husband is 32, and the kids are 5, 2 & 1. She was treated an released, the 2 year old stayed in the hospital overnight with a skull fracture, and the other two children didn’t sustain any major injuries. Her husband, however, took the worst of the hit in the crash. He was trapped in the van for over an hour and had to be cut out of it. He was life-flighted to the hospital and already has had multiple surgeries on his legs. Last report I heard was that the doctors hope he may be able to walk again by Christmas. Christmas is nearly a year away, and he has 3 very young kids. I can’t imagine how difficult the coming days, weeks and months will be for this young family. Fortunately for them, they are a strong family, with strong extended families and a strong faith that I believe will help them through the rough weeks ahead.
Then Tuesday night I got word of another tragedy, one that convinced me that no matter how bad weeks I’ve had in the past were, they certainly weren’t the worst. My Wildman has a best buddy from school who we’ve become friends with his family through all the various activities the boys do together: his mom is the basketball coach and Kev is the assistant coach, and his dad was a Pack leader for our Cub Scout pack. His mother and I communicate almost daily between email and Facebook, and the boys have had sleepovers at one another’s houses. Tuesday night I received word from another basketball coach that the father had suddenly passed away. I immediately called the mother to see if she needed anything. I spoke with her for a little while, and when I hung up the weight of what had just happened really hit me. Here was a woman the same age as me who was suddenly a widow with two boys, ages 10 and 6. The husband was 48 years old, with no health problems, and he suddenly had a massive heart attack and died enroute to the hospital. Literally in the blink of an eye, he was gone.
This tragic loss is effecting us all. My Wildman is very upset, and even though he won’t talk about his feelings I know it is bothering him. He’s gotten in trouble at school for acting out, and when I asked him about it he said he just wanted everyone to leave him alone so he could think about things. Last night after attending visitation at the funeral home he couldn’t sleep by himself and had to be with me. This isn’t his first experience with death – both of his great-grandmothers have passed away in the last year and a half – but this time things are different. This was his buddy’s dad, someone he saw at least weekly. I can’t imagine how hard this is on the two young boys who have lost their father. To be so young and to lose someone so close is incomprehensible to me. To be in his wife’s shoes is also something I can’t imagine. I’ve spent some time with her this week and she was going a mile a minute getting arrangements made and all the things that need to be done immediately after someone passes away. I think either today after the funeral or tomorrow or Monday when the family visiting from out of town are gone, it’s really going to hit her. I hope I can be there for her when she needs a friend.
Both of these families have had weeks that will forever change their lives. Compared to them, I’ve had bad, rough, and even terrible weeks, but not the worst. My cousin’s week wasn’t the worst – I saw pictures of their van and they are fortunate to be alive. My friend’s week maybe wasn’t the worst either, but it was unimaginably bad. Both of these situations will give me pause next time I am tempted to say I’ve had the worst week, though. As long as my family is safe and whole, it’s a good week and I’m much more aware of that than ever before.
Please keep both these families in your thoughts, and if you’re the praying kind, in your prayers.