Six Thousand Miles From Home
It was May of 2011, when I made my decision to return to Germany. I hadn’t been here since the early 1980’s when I’d served in the U.S. Air Force and there were so many things I had to get prepared for my move. In my haste in leaving the country, I was unable to properly bid farewell to quite of few special people. I guess I figured I wouldn’t be gone long and I’d see them again. But tomorrow is never promised to any of us, is it?
This week was another reminder of this point when I woke up to find an SMS message from a friend from back home. His mom had passed away. To say I was shocked would be an understatement.
She was a wonderful person and she always made me feel like one of the family whenever I visited their home. She always greeted me with a warm embrace and a bright smile. She’d ask how my life was going, then listen closely as I shared the details, whether good or bad. That’s the special part. People often ask, but rarely really listen.
And when I’d ask about her life, she’d tell me about this pain and that pain. Later, I’d discover she walked a couple of miles to the store, then another couple of miles somewhere else. I’d look at her, give her a hug, and say, “Come on, you’ll probably outlive us all.”
Sadly, she didn’t.
I immediately thought of how many special people in my life were gone since I left my beautiful Southern California. It seemed like I was losing someone every month. Sometimes there would be two.
Then a chill went through my body as I thought of the possibility of getting a message that someone even closer had died. No one lives forever.Continued on the next page