This entry is going to do two things at once. First but definitely not the foremost is it’s this month’s Blogging for Books entry where I write something about time. Secondly and by no means least – it’s about my cousin Mike who was killed in a car accident a couple of days ago.
I got the phone call yesterday morning at 7.15 from my mum. She never rings me that early unless it’s something important. The first thing she said was that it wasn’t good news. Any phone call at that time of day, especially with the ‘it’s not good news’ bit makes time immediately stand still, although it makes my heart beat faster by comparison. I immediately thought something was wrong with my dad. She came straight out with the news and said that Michael (my first cousin) had been killed in a car accident last night. She didn’t have many details, just that the word was that he had a head-on with an elderly woman. She survived.
I never saw my cousin that often, but I did catch up with him on Christmas day. We exchanged mobile numbers and I had a few texts from him since then, the last one being to turn down my invite to the new year’s eve party I was going to because a karaoke party wasn’t his thing. I wish it had been now so I could get to see him one more time.
Now there will be no more times I will ever see him alive. It’s so final. Nobody had any warning that this was going to happen. Nobody got to say goodbye.
When we were kids we saw each other all the time because we went to the same school and lived pretty close together. I’ve still got a book given to me by him and his brother for Christmas one year. Then they moved away to be with their mum and we didn’t see each other as much anymore.
I went to his wedding and have seen him at various family funerals and other occasions since then. Last year when our auntie died his brother came and when I asked where Mike was he said that Mike didn’t really like funerals. I don’t need to say how ironic that is now. Whenever I saw either Mike or his brother we would always say that we should catch up more often.
Even though he didn’t live that far away – about an hour – neither of us really went out of our way to see each other as life just got in the way and he fell to the bottom of my list of priorities. I hired a holiday house near his place a couple of years ago and saw him then both at the place I was staying and at his work. Now, of course, I wish I had made more of a priority for him, but it’s too late for that now.
I’d thought after our exchange of mobile numbers on Christmas day that we’d have loads of time to catch up with each other. It’s times like this when I can see why people believe in heaven or an afterlife because it’s so hard to let go of someone who was living and trying to come to terms with their death.
Losing someone not that much older than me, and losing him so unexpectedly, just made me really really appreciate my son so much more. It just made me realise that time is precious, and time with loved ones is precious and I don’t need to worry or focus on the little day to day gripes that get me down sometimes.
Today I was texting someone and I saw his number in my phone. It’s not time to delete that yet. I’ll have to wait a while longer until it finally sinks in.