By Thad Plumley
Our lives seem like movies playing out in real time. There is drama, twists no one sees coming, belly laughs, and tear-jerking moments that choke up even the most hardened souls.
The biggest twist is no one knows how the movie is playing out and when it will end. I was reminded of this when I received a text from a friend that rattled me for days.
I was told a mutual friend had tragically lost his son. Just 22 years old, the young man became another victim to the gun violence plaguing our society.
We’re not wired to bury our children. It’s unnatural. It’s a plot twist that is not supposed to occur in our movies.
But in this case, it really seemed out of place. Already knowing his chosen career path, the young man was making things happen. His movie surely was going to be one of those superstar success biographies, we all thought.
Instead, loving tributes were posted on social media. Parents quickly planned a funeral they never dreamed of, and a teenager began trying to come to grips with the loss of a big brother he thought would always be there.
How quickly life can turn. It happens every day. Everywhere. Movies end when they seemingly are just getting started.
Water Well Journal reported a year ago on the loss of a 22-year-old groundwater professional. The young man died when an argument ensued after he tried to stop someone intoxicated from driving home from a party. As the argument unfolded, the drunk pulled out a gun and shot someone trying to do the right thing.
Now a water well contractor goes to work every day without his favorite right-hand man, his son. A court case followed, and a scholarship was established for young people pursuing trade careers by those trying to create a small positive out of something so negative.
The biggest twist is no one knows how the movie is playing out and when it will end.
I certainly don’t have the answer to these tragic turns. Does anyone? All I can offer is one piece of advice: Hug those closest to you and tell them that you love them every day.
Does that sound silly? I counter by saying it’s truly important. I keep wondering how my friend’s day unfolded before he got the call no parent wants to get. I want to know when the last time was that he hugged his son. I want to know when the last time he looked at his son, and for no reason, said, “Son, I love you. I’m so proud of you.”
My friend is gregarious and not afraid to show his emotions, so I am sure that scene played out often. I am also equally sure he thought he had thousands of more opportunities to do so.
So, all I got is hold those dear to you close. You never know when the film is going to fade to black.
Thad Plumley is the editor of WWJ and director of information products at the National Ground Water Association. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (800) 551-7379, ext. 1594.