This is an entry that talks out death, dying and descriptions of what happened at the gym on Friday afternoon. I didn't want to post this until I had all the information and until I knew that this man's friends and family knew what happened. I didn't want them to accidentally read this online.
Please read this at your own discretion...
A man passed away at the gym on Friday afternoon while I was there. He was a familiar face, I saw him almost every time I worked out going back to when I first joined the gym over seven years ago. We never spoke, just nodded and smiled at each other while walking by. I never even knew his name until this morning when I read his obituary. It was Don. His name was Don.
It was such a normal day. A Friday afternoon. A few people working out, no trainers that day, just a couple of regular people, the girl at the desk and the lifeguard downstairs. Just a normal, regular day. I was on the treadmill and he was on the recumbent bike like normal. Then he was done and walked past me to the machines which were behind me. Just like the days before. Just like always.
I had my ear buds in and my music loud to keep me motivated. I didn't even know something was wrong until the girl from the desk tapped me on the shoulder and told me there was a medical emergency and we had to leave.
He was laying by the machines. The lifeguard was with him and the paramedics were coming into the room. He was laying there... but he wasn't there anymore. The other gym goers were standing back out of the way before they herded us downstairs. The lifeguard was right there beside him. He wasn't alone. I think that's important to say. He wasn't alone. Someone comforting was with him, even if he was gone.
We got downstairs, things were a little crazy; the gym goers gathered by the desk unsure of what to do... do we leave? Do we stay? Do we wait? The girl at the desk making call after call. The paramedics streaming through the doors and being told to go upstairs. I know they were working on him. I know they were fighting for him. No one was giving up.
I asked if we should leave and the girl at the desk said "yes." New people were coming in not knowing what was going on. Outside, the ambulance and police car lights and sirens were blaring. People were being asked to go home. I think some stayed. I left. I had to pick up Charles from work. The paramedics were still working on him. They were still trying...
He passed away.
I thought I was okay until I got home and then things got emotional. I didn't know if he had made it and I spent the weekend refreshing every online page I could think of that might have info. I finally got information on Monday and saw his obituary today. From what I heard he didn't suffer. It was sudden and it was fast and he was in a place he enjoyed being in.
I've always had a problem dealing with the concept of death and this didn't make it any easier. How could he be here on moment and gone the next? I mean, he was there. He was just there on the bike. He just walked past me like every other time. He was right there! I could have reached out and touched him. He was right there.... and then he wasn't. How does that make any sense? How can you just be gone in a moment? And how does that moment choose you?
I don't understand. I normally try not to think about it because it sets of my anxiety but I didn't have a choice this time. Mortality slapped me hard across the face and I can't stop thinking about it. About him. About life and death and the chances you get and the chances that get taken from you. He was living life to the fullest. Am I?
Am I taking everything that is being given to me or am I wasting it in front of my laptop. Am I working to make myself healthy and strong to hopefully have a longer life or am I wallowing in my obesity and my issues and throwing away the time that I have? Am I living my life or am I watching it go by?
There's so much going on in my head right now. I know I've started to make the changes I need to make to how I life my life and this just pushed them all to the full front. When I am gone, will people say I lived my life to fullest? Will I know I did all I could to show love to those around me? Will my friends and family know how much they mean to me? Will I leave my mark on the world?
Maybe I haven't accomplished this so far but I'll be damned if I don't start doing it now. Because now is all we are guaranteed.
Rest in peace Don. May your memory be eternal.