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Has something ever happened...

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
that completely changed you and the way you think about your life? Last Sunday, John and I pretty much fought all day. He wanted to go somewhere and I wanted to go somewhere else was what it came down to. Well, we came to the solution that we'd take John's grandpa to visit his brother-in-law who he hadn't seen in awhile and go to pick up a motorcycle that John had been storing at his house. We still weren't really happy with each other at that point though. So we headed out, and a few miles down the road we were stopped. There had been a motorcycle wreck, and they blocked off the road for the emergency vehicles. We had a huge truck and 16 ft. trailer and this is a fairly small road, so while John was trying to figure out how to get us out of there, I sat and watched what was going on at the scene. I wanted to look away, but I just couldn't. The motorcycle was in pieces, and the man and his wife were lying on the grass by the side of the road. The man had obviously passed away, and I couldn't see enough to tell if the woman was still living. But in that moment I realized... it had just been an ordinary day for them. Maybe they had fought with each other that day, maybe they didn't have a chance that day to tell each other how much they loved them.
We sat there for maybe 5 minutes but it was enough for me to realize just how short life is... how you never know if this is the last hug you will give to the one you love.
Since then, I haven't let myself get angry with John. If we start arguing about anything, I just think about the accident and I just tell John "you know what? this is stupid, it's pointless to argue about nothing", and I go and kiss him and walk away for a little while. He might still be upset but after a few minutes of processing what just happened, he's fine.

I just had to share this story. Does anyone else have stories of how one event completely changed how you view your life?
post #2 of 25
I've posted elsewhere on TCS about it, but my daughter's throat was cut in an attempted murder when she was 15 years old (she is now 23.)

That changed my entire life and how I look at everyone in my life.

Then last summer a very close friend of mine was killed when her motorcycle hit a tree. She was 47 years old.

I don't take ANYTHING for granted anymore. And I say the words, "I love you," a LOT to those that are important to me, be they friend or family.

Appreciate THIS MOMENT, because it may be your last.
post #3 of 25
That sounds like it was a very profound experience.

I used to smoke. I watched 3 family members die (one husband and wife) from smoking related illnesses leaving behind young children. The 3 of them all died within 1 year of each other. I no longer smoke because of the pain that was left behind. My aunt dealing with an 8 and 10 year old without their father. My uncle losing his wife and dying less then a year later leaving behind a 13 year old and a 19 year old. It taught me that the risk of smoking is not worth it.
post #4 of 25
At the age of 33, one of my school friends died of breast cancer.

It put life into perspective being so young because i was the same age and back then i always thought it was older woman who caught it
post #5 of 25
My life changed and my perspective on things also When my first DH was killed in a boat accident, he was 42 I was 31. I had just hung up the phone with him and an hour later got the call that he was dead, it profoundly changed me and both our families. But it changed us for the better I just wish it didn't take such tragic things to make us realize how precious life is.
post #6 of 25
Originally Posted by Bella713 View Post
My life changed and my perspective on things also When my first DH was killed in a boat accident, he was 42 I was 31. I had just hung up the phone with him and an hour later got the call that he was dead, it profoundly changed me and both our families. But it changed us for the better I just wish it didn't take such tragic things to make us realize how precious life is.
post #7 of 25
The death of my uncle was a very profound experience for me. He'd gone into hospital for a fairly routine (relatively speaking!) heart procedure. He didn't tell my mum (his sister) that he was having the operation because he didn't want her to worry. During surgery they discovered a congenital heart defect which no-one had known about, and to all intents and purposes, he died on the operating table. He was put on life-support, but we didn't find out until a week later, his wife was in too much of a state and hadn't contacted us at all, my mum found out when one of my uncle's neighbours looked her up in the phone book and called to tell her, because they thought it odd that they hadn't seen any of us round there. We went to the hospital and me and my mum held his hands and talked to him while the machines were switched off.

It changed my life in that my immediate family came together and talked and repaired a lot of cracks, I have a much better relationship with my parents and brother now than I could ever have dreamed possible when I was younger. Strangely, it also cured me of my death phobia, to the extent that I ended up working in the death industry for a while, in a job that benefitted and helped others. Sadly I don't think my mum will ever really come to terms with what happened, and she has never forgiven my aunt for letting my uncle lie on life-support, essentially dead, for a week without telling her what had happened.
post #8 of 25
I don't know if it was any particular event, but I have lived by the same credo as Gingersmom, Appreciate THIS MOMENT, because it may be your last it is so true you never know what's around the corner
post #9 of 25
My father committing suicide when I was 16. How in the heck can you be so selfish to leave your kid behind. I learned that purposley taking your life, for your own good, hurts the ones that loved them, more than whatever kind of pain they were going through.

I would never ever EVER do that. He's missing alot. He's a grandpa, and he doesnt even know it. He's not going to walk me down that wedding isle. All because he was sad.

Love your children. Love your parents. With everything you've got. That's what I learned.
post #10 of 25
My son laying in the intensive care unit at 18 months old and being told he probably is not going to make it seriously changed my life. I remember looking out of the window in the intensice care unit and looking at people and thinking why are you all carrying on as normal!!! It sounds stupid cos those people did not know me or my situation but you realise life goes on around you no matter what situation you are in. He doing great now, no more probs but I can honestly say it was the scariest moment in my life.
post #11 of 25
I have a rare disease called Vascular Ehlers Danlos syndrome. Life expectancy with this disease is only in the forties. I inherited this disease from my father who passed away at the age of 41 from complications. In the last few years I had 3 life threatening complications but survived. I no longer view life the same. I am way more spiritual and I am pursuing my dream that I never thought I could.
post #12 of 25
Definitely! My closest cousin was brutally raped, stabbed, and burned to death when I was 15. My dad had just died when I was 13. Other things happened along the way, too... a few uncles (my only connections to my father still alive) died and then all my grandparents. In college, my mom came down with a terminal illness... I'm an only child, so now I take care of her. Needless to say, I appreciate life a lot more than a lot of my peers and although I'm not a gushy person, I say "I love you" a lot and having quality time with my loved ones is always a major priority.

I don't talk about all that stuff very often, but those events have definitely shaped who I am... down to being partly responsible for the major depression I experienced from high school and most of college.

On one hand, I'm a more compassionate person than most people I know, but I also get fed up easily with people who complain and get bent out of shape about the small stuff. I am easily amused and enjoy the little things in life because you never know what course life will take... I may be a millionaire in 30 years, or I may be on the streets homeless. Anything can happen to anyone. It's important to learn to appreciate the "now" and not worry about the future too much.
post #13 of 25
Three yrs ago my aunt died from a blood clotting disease that I had just found out that I have. My mom suffers from blood clots and has an exposed septic ulser with an exposed nerve on the front of her lower leg from having so many clots. After my aunt passed away it was a wake up call for me and my mom to realize how seriously we need to take out illness. Since then Ive been so much more careful about what I do, taking my meds just everything. I dont want to get older and have my life expectancy cut in half because I didnt pay enough attention to a bruise. I know that if David and I have a kid later on Im going to have to be careful because just getting pregnant puts me at a higher risk to develop a clot and I dont want to leave him or my girls before I get to experiance everything I can with them. Carpe Diem!!!
post #14 of 25
Wow. A loved one's death sure impacts your life doesn't it?

My brother was murdered when I was 16. It made me start questioning everything! Afterall, we had the same beliefs and everything, and I couldn't get passed the fact that we were so similar, and his life was just gone at 14! I still question my faith in God and wonder why? I will never have a true answer. I too felt as though my world had stopped. My older sister once said it out loud "I thought only old people died" He didn't have a chance to fall in love, marry, or have children! I made goals for myself after that. Some of my goals aren't where I thought they would be,but I know they were high expectations and stuff happens, but I am happy where I'm at today. It's important to live everyday to the fullest and to love your life.

I thought my calling was teaching, when the job market in my areas (except inner city), and the realization that it wan't what I was truly interested in. I'm interested in social work and helping others. I am going back to school in the fall. I hope to work in child welfare, but if it becomes too much to bear, I will help others. The field is more open than with teaching. A lot of people don't think I know what I'm getting myself into, but someone needs to look out for the kids that need it.
post #15 of 25
Several things have changed mine.
The death of my Dad.
The illness that almost took my 6 year old son from me.
The lump that we were told was Cancer on my 16 year old Daughter.
My then 9 week old Son having Hernia surgury.
My oldest sons birth, in which I almost lost him.
The accident my husband was in-- he totaled his truck.
When my husband while at work, touched the train track with a steel rod and welded it to the track.....causing the whole plant to loose power.Luckily he was able to free his hands and didn't suffer any damage.
My own health scare with Ovarian and Uterine Cancer.
post #16 of 25
This thread reminds me of a quote on my Cystic Fibrosis forums (not verbatim, and I can't remember who said it- sorry) that goes kinda like this:

"Be kinder than necessary, because everyone you meet is probably dealing with something".

It's true- we never know, do we? People have life altering things happen everyday...

We had a waiter one night (at a family resturant) who just did not seem "all there". He was very distracted, couldn't get simple things right (like drinks), and we kept telling him that it was okay, we weren't in a hurry. Finally, his manager came out and apologized, and said that we would have a new waiter. The guy's apartment was one of the ones in town that had burned down a couple of days before, and it was his first night back at work, and he was having trouble handling it all.

This is a small one, but a big reminder to dh and I. That quote reminds me of that night, and to look a little beyond myself if I think I am being "mistreated" by someone I don't know, and may even never see again.
post #17 of 25
I was 10 when my father was sent to Vietnam, and my mom and younger brother and I moved to her family's hometown for the year. Living there, I finally grew closer to my maternal grandparents. Usually three nights a week, we would go over to their house and my mom, Grandma, Uncle Ray, and Aunt Helen would play cards in the "new room" that had been added onto the house... about 30 years earlier.

But Grandpa and I would spend the evening on the front porch, he on the squeaky old glider and I in the creaky old swing. To our left was a long trellis of roses, and whenever a car rolled by on the brick street, its headlights through the trellis would make what Grandpa called "movin' pitchers" on the wall of the house.

Between the two big spruce trees in front of the house, if the clouds were low, you could just barely see the revolving white, then green, then white light of the tiny airport outside of town. In the summer, there were fireflies. And two or three times an evening, trains would go by at the crossing three blocks up. Grandpa had been a railroad man, so he knew where each train was headed, and he could tell by the sound how many engines there were.

Grandpa told me stories about the railroad, about being in Europe during World War I, about how he courted Grandma, about constellations and poetry and superstitions and just everything ... we never ran out of things to talk about.

Then one night, Grandpa was having trouble sleeping, and he took too many of the sleeping pills his doctor had given him. He never woke up.

Because of the sleeping pills, the local paper reported his death as a suicide -- and because this was the '60s and Grandma was devoutly Catholic, that was a crushing thing.

In those days, the Catholic church viewed suicide as a sin so horrible that you couldn't even be buried on church property. And although it would never have crossed anyone's mind that Grandpa might have done it deliberately, once the newspaper article raised the question, the possibility became a torment to them all... especially Grandma. And an aunt of mine said something I overheard at the funeral -- something like, "He probably thought he was sick and just didn't have the nerve to face it."

The message I gathered from all of this was a lot like what catsallover said: None of us can really know what anyone is dealing with inside, and it's wrong of us to presume that we do. It was wrong for the newspaper to print an unfounded assumption; it was wrong for my aunt to state such an unkind speculation about Grandpa's innermost thoughts; and it was profoundly wrong for the Catholic church to punish Grandpa with exclusion. Even if he had committed suicide, it would still have been wrong. I knew this instinctively, and it was part of what made me reject the church at the age of 10. (I understand that policy of the church has now been changed.)

So that's why I'm all about compassion, understanding, acceptance, assuming the best, and forgiveness. We have no way of knowing what pressure or pain another person is carrying around... so we owe each other the benefit of a doubt. The waiter who is forgetful because he just lost his home... the guy who cuts you off in traffic because he just got a call that his kid was hurt at school... the customer who snaps at you because she just got a tonguelashing from her boss... you just never know, so lovingkindness is the best policy, always.
post #18 of 25
I am a student and have been doing my clinic hours in a major trauma hospital here. I have seen people's lives's change so fast from major car accidents or normal everyday accidents. I do appreciate everything and everyone a little more now. Most of the trauma patients are air lifted in by helicopter from car accidents. Makes me think twice about road rage. That must be what causes it. I've seen so many close calls on the interstate. Leave earlier. Slow down. Enjoy the ride. If you leave late, just be late. Better late than the alternatives. I never rush on the interstate anymore. No reason to. And everytime someone speeds past me, I hope that I am not going to see them in the clinic later.
post #19 of 25
My life changed completely the day my daughter was born.
post #20 of 25
One very special missions trip when I was a teen through my church. Made me think and see life from a different angle, the exposure to another world was very important to me. Everytime I travel, I change a little for the better I think. But that one trip was especially important.

My grandmother's house fire also did, thankfully she was okay. But I saw decades worth of priceless life history for our family go up in flames - stuff doesn't matter as much anymore -
It was hard.

Marriage has changed me in a way- getting married to my best friend was a very significant and wonderful thing.

Also, the death of a loved one changed me in the MOST significant way. I was completely unaware that death was really real until that point. I was unaware of a lot of things until that point.
post #21 of 25
Originally Posted by CarolPetunia View Post

The message I gathered from all of this was a lot like what catsallover said: None of us can really know what anyone is dealing with inside, and it's wrong of us to presume that we do. It was wrong for the newspaper to print an unfounded assumption;

So that's why I'm all about compassion, understanding, acceptance, assuming the best, and forgiveness. We have no way of knowing what pressure or pain another person is carrying around... so we owe each other the benefit of a doubt. .
I very much agree with this
post #22 of 25
My grandfathers death..

the death of my childhood friend..while she was in the hospital for something that should not have killed her..

a scare when i myself almost went septic..
post #23 of 25
My life changed totally when I got my diagnosis of being Bi-Polar. It was the biggest gift and the worst curse I could have ever imagined. The disease itself isn't very pleasant, but when I allowed myself to discover the coping methods to deal with it I realized I could live a great life with it.

The funny part about it is that I used to be a big push over. You could write "Door Mat" on my forehead. In the process of reinventing myself I discovered I could say no and mean it. That was the most power gift that I've given myself.
post #24 of 25

Never take anyone or anything for granted.
post #25 of 25
When I was in high school one of the kids from the crowd I hung out with was killed in a motorcycle accident. That accident not only had a profound affect on me but on several other of my friends at the time. It showed all of us that things can end very quickly and gave us a new prospective of what was actually important in life. It was a hard thing to have to go throw at that age, but I do think it made better people of us.
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