October 20, 2020

by a NASCAR fanatic - not affiliated with NASCAR

I love racing. I love people who love racing. I love racing people. Sometimes all I think about is racing and the next race I am going to. This is not a bad thing, but I sometimes take for granted how good my life truly is. I have a wonderful wife and kids, a couple of thriving businesses and have been in good health all of my life. I am afforded the ability to go to races when I want as well as vacation several times per year. I don’t say all of this to impress anyone. I really say it for me so that I remember that I am fortunate and to never take that for granted. Life has a way of throwing curve balls at us and we need to enjoy the good times.

My wife has a friend she grew up with (I’ll call her B) whose mom passed away last week on September 29th. The funeral is not until this coming Tuesday, which seems like a really long time between death and burial. There was more to the story than I could imagine. I hadn’t really paid attention to what had been going on until today. I’ve been so busy with work, going to events for our kids and general day to day stuff that needed to be done. I knew that B’s mother had gone into the hospital unexpectedly a few weeks ago and that she declined quickly and then was gone. Her name was Vi. I had met Vi a few times but never really knew her. As my wife was friends with B from back in grade school, I knew her better than anyone in her family.

Here’s some of Vi’s story. Vi and her husband of over three decades, maybe even four, divorced several years ago. Right around the same time, their son was sent to prison for murder. He had carried a gun to confront a man who had been threatening him and his girlfriend. Things went badly and their son shot the man, in what he though was self-defense. They jury decided otherwise and he is now serving his sentence. I figured that the reason for the delay in the funeral service was so the son could be allowed to attend his mother’s funeral. The request to allow him to attend the funeral was denied, but I am beginning to realize this may not have been the reason for the delay.

I came home this evening ready to watch the XFINITY race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Life was humming along. My wife seemed upset about something so I asked what was going on. She was worried for B and all that she is going through. She proceeded to tell me that Vi’s ex-husband is not going to the funeral and is refusing to help with any arrangements or finances. B’s bother is in prison and cannot attend and her sister lives out of state and will most likely only be able to come in on the day of the funeral. This leaves B to do everything, as well as pay for it, and she is not coping well. B found out that her mother has a mountain of debt and had no money to leave to pay these debts. It also appears Vi had no life insurance, or very little. Not enough to cover burial expenses as B confided in my wife that she was unsure how she would pay for it. My wife’s heart breaks for her friend and her situation. We will help B and pay for what we can, but I too feel awful for B. I’ve thought of starting a GoFund me page for her so she can at least bury her mother with dignity, and maybe pay down some of the debt, but I feel I need to ask for her permission to do so first.

What pains me most is this is a good family. Vi and her husband raised their kids well and they seemed to love each other. Then in a series of quick calamities they were destroyed. They are all scattered and disjointed and it is heartbreaking to witness. This has made me take stock of what I truly value in life. I value my family, my friends and my health. I think what I value most is life itself and those I get to share it with. Life is truly short so we need to savor every moment and enjoy the time we have. Racing is one of the things I enjoy immensely, yet many times there are more important things in life. I just hope that I remember this more often.

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