In Memory of Tom StoneJust over five months ago, on July 28, 2012, we lost Tom Stone. I've had this post saved as a draft for months, not sure if I should share this on our blog. However, I think this holiday season as the family has especially missed him, now is the best time to remember again on a few of the events leading up to his passing that I know were small, simple blessings.
One day TJ was talking on the phone with his dad, a couple days later he was gone. Taken from this life so suddenly. So unexpectedly. So unfairly. So young.
Late Thursday evening, July 26th, Tom went into cardiac arrest in his home with Kim and Austin nearby. Austin performed CPR, as the person on the phone from 911 gave instructions. At first everyone thought it was a heart attack, but after getting him to the hospital, restarting his heart 12 different times and running a number of tests, they learned it was not a heart attack but rather cardiac arrest. His heart had simply stopped. Sudden death, or sudden cardiac arrest, as the doctors referred to it. No explanation. No signs leading up to it. Nothing wrong with his heart. Nothing to explain why it happened. It just stopped working.
As the family has gone through this difficult time, we have reflected on some of the little blessings that happened following up to his passing. You know, those simple blessings that remind you there must be some higher being up above, very aware of each and every one of us. The following is just to name a few.
First, we spent time together in April to celebrate TJ's graduation. Precious time. I don't think I ever even told TJ this, but as he walked across the stage to receive his diploma, I sat next to his family in the crowd and watched a proud father look at his son with tears in his eyes. He was so proud of TJ.
As June rolled around, we moved from Utah to New York, making a stop in Arizona to see the Stone family. We took family pictures, which was something we hadn't done since we got married a couple years ago. What a special thing to have such nice family pictures fairly close to when the unimaginable happened.
Thirdly, the fact the both Kim and Austin were home at the time it happened is something that may not seem like a blessing, but I believe it was. They were able to respond quickly and Austin performed CPR, which was what the doctor said was the only reason that Tom even made it to the hospital. That alone, allowed TJ to fly to Arizona in time to say his final good-byes to his father. Even though his dad was just a warm body at that point, I would still like to believe that Tom could somehow hear the final and precious whispers of "I love you" from his wife Kim and two sons.
My favorite little blessing for TJ was that he actually talked with his dad on the phone about an hour before Tom went into cardiac arrest. The fact that he was able to chat with his dad just a hour before is so incredible to me. What a blessing in disguise. No one had any idea anything was about to go so terribly wrong. TJ had no idea that would be the last time he would talk with his father.
The Stone family was (and still is) just enveloped with love, kind words and good deeds from so many people. Friends, family and just the nicest people you have ever met. Meals were continuously brought over. Flowers, plants, cards, kind words and hugs galore. All a great outpouring of love and friendship. We held an open house the night before the memorial, where it was packed wall-to-wall with friends and family. The memorial itself, was the most beautiful funeral I have ever witnessed.
Even though several months have passed, I think for TJ it is still somewhat surreal. There are moments he thinks "I should call my dad" until reality hits that he can't just call him up anymore. Tom can't hear about TJ's first job, talk about who won the latest golf tournament or simply chat about everyday happenings. He will not be here to witness so many things that he should have been here for.
This experience has really done a twist on our perspective of life. We have always believed in the importance of making the most of each day. We always tell those close to us how much they mean to us. But man! This will really do it for you. Something like this will burn a scar on your heart to really make the most of every minute because you never know when it will be your last, or the last of someone you hold close to your heart. Our knowledge and belief that families can be together forever is such a comfort during this time.
We miss you Tombo!