My Fateful Trip to Mexico

My wife Rae and I just returned from a getaway to Mexico to reconnect as husband and wife, and wind down from a full schedule of commitments and priorities. We knew we were destined for many walks on the beach, drinks by the pool, great food and meeting interesting new people from all over the world. What I had not predicted was one new connection that has me once again questioning the concept of fate. Was this trip destined to connect me to someone who would remind me of life valuable lessons and to engrain a deeper sense of gratitude and daily intentional living?

We arrived Saturday night and I was up early as usual on Sunday for some exercise and to save our spots by the pool. I was at the pool well before anyone else at the resort, except one guy, Ted. I threw my stuff on a beach chair within talking distance of Ted and we immediately started into conversation. Ted and I had many things in common (passion for hockey, being Canadian) and it was interesting to find out that he had three girls who were all now into their twenties. Through the conversation, Ted confided that he lost his wife only two weeks’ prior to the same brain cancer Gord Downie of The Tragically Hip is battling. I didn’t quite know what to say and I certainly didn’t want to probe further at this point.

I walked back to our room and told Rae about Ted and his situation. I had a lot of things going through my mind. He was a young guy in his fifties with a lot of life left and here he just lost his wife, his three girls losing their mom. Of all the potential people for me (a guy with 4 girls) to throw my stuff beside, it just felt as if there was something I was to take away from this.

We spent the entire week with Ted, his girls and their other family and friends. We hung by the pool, we had dinners together, we borrowed their snorkeling gear. We listened as Ted talked about how each of his daughters are so different and special, stories of his wife and their mother and other great family conversations. We watched this family full of love clearly on a trip for healing and some reflection after the tough battle recently ended. We saw a man with deep respect for his kids and vice versa. We talked of our girls, raising big families and all the people who support our kids. Each day, Rae and I would walk back to room to get cleaned up for supper and we would laugh at the events of the day, talk of Ted and the family and reflect on how lucky we are.

So why did I put my pool towel beside Ted? Was it fate or just a coincidence and I am reading too much into it? What I have been reminded about ever since of learning of his story is that things can change in a heartbeat. Husbands, wives, children can get sick and even pass away when there were so many other plans that have not been completed yet.

Life might be short. Life might be long. We don’t know and we need to drink in each moment we have with those who are important to us. Spend time with people who add value and politely decline those who destroy value. Shower your kids with life experiences rather than material possessions. Make memories everyday so you can enjoy them for the rest of your days.

Thanks Ted.

28 thoughts on “My Fateful Trip to Mexico”

  1. Omg what you wrote here is so true, life is too short live to the fullest cause you never know what’s ahead for you, I lost my husband he was 65 and we had so many dreams to full fill when I retired but that didn’t happen, my heart goes out to Ted and his family, you and Rae were ment to meet this wonderful family to help them through this hard vacation for them

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  2. Travis thanks for this it’s so very true we take a lot of things in life for granite. When my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago we had no idea how our life would change. After a left side mastectomy and months of chemotherapy we have a new appreciation for life and all that means so much to us. Was it fate who knows but I’m glad you we’re able to have the opportunity to meet Ted and share this story in hopes that others may gain a better appreciation for the ones we love and the life we live.

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  3. Sounds like a divine appointment to me! So good for Ted to have shared his week with you and your family. Every situation that throws us into an awareness of life’s fragility is a gift.

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  4. Well well well…didn’t know you had a blog (I just ran across this on Facebook). It’s a good read, Travis and it sounds like you had a really good vacation. Ted’s situation is definitely a sad one, but sounds like you were all able to turn it into a positive experience. You’re right about making time for the things that count the most. Life can end in the blink of an eye and I, for one, hope not to have any regrets when that day comes.

    Cheers, my friend!

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  5. Great read and yes you were ment to meet Ted and learn how fast life can change in 2 minutes, everyday is a new day so treat it like it could be your last day. My sister and her husband woke up March 14th 2017 to a glorious sunny day, as they layed in bed and talked about their day he felt his lips go numb and shared this with my sister, she said please cough I think you might be having a heart attack, no it was not a heart attack but a brain bleed, within 2 minutes my humble, gentle brother in law said he was sorry to my sister, closed his eyes and was gone. He was a man of God and my sister knows she will be with him again but today she is a broken and a grieving widow. My brother in law was only 57 years old, this is how fast your life can change…enjoy your life everyday!

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  6. It’s nice to read about someone grabbing life by the kahunas and embracing it. I have no idea how I stumbled upon your blog. Perhaps a little fate working there too. My sister in law is also a Gunn and also lives back east, my daughter is Rae, my sweet husband died last year at 46 years young, and I write a blog about this life we now find ourselves living. We’ve been trying to search out the beauty in this messy life ever since Ben died. I hope Ted is managing to get through and that he remembers to breathe.

    Wendylynnesaintonge.wordpress.com

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    1. Wendy, thanks for this message. It was very strange, I had been writing the blog for reasons I cover in my first blog but the recently I thought “ah, maybe I will stop”. I was getting around 1,000-2,000 views per blog. Then I had this experience and wrote what I thought was a ‘good’ blog. It is 3 days now and has been viewed 70,000 times. Some messages just seem to hit a spot for people and I am very satisfied if people find comfort in the thoughts I have. I will be sure to check out your blog and I have every reason to believe you are going to find beauty in your days ahead.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I say this all the time…you just never know…but I forget to live it…work and other committments that tend to block my view and speed up time…

    Jacquie

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  8. It was 14 years this past week that we lost our brother to the same tumor/cancer and not a single day goes by that I do not think of him….when he was diagnosed he took myself and my new husband(married 4 months) aside and said ” make me a promise to always love each other, do not take what you have for granted and live every second if it is your last” … I have never forgot those words and your story hits pretty close to home! I truly believe that you were meant to meet Ted and everything happens for a reason😀 take whatever life lesson you can from it and live your life accordingly

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    1. Wow, that is an impactful story Lori. Thanks for taking the time to share it with me. I am sure you continue to live every second as if your last. All the best to you and thanks for reading.
      You might also want to check out my blog about Laura and “how many friends do I need?”

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  9. So very true and I enjoyed the engaging way you wrote about it. It is special to be able to see how special the gifts of time and memories together are. I have been on both sides of the story, loss of people I love and am now a cancer survivor of almost a year. What has gotten me through any of it was making new cherished memories and being able to laugh and hold onto those of past days when it felt too difficult to make a new one in the moment. Thank you for seeing this reminder about priorities in your life and taking your time and talents to share it. There were more heartwarming and bittersweet tears shed this morning that left a smile of gratotilude in their wake, and sometimes that is what reminds me I am truly living.

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  10. In 2005 my 38 yr old husband passed away, leaving me with our two children, then 9 and 12 years old. That winter I was given a gift of a trip to Disney World. I was at the ‘happiest place on earth’ feeling incredibly lonely, with no other adults to talk to or to help carry my overwhelming burden.
    I’m so glad that you were there for Ted, to hear his stories, to let him talk out some of his pain., to be a part of his journey for one short week. I’m sure that you walking along side him was part of his healing.

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  11. Sounds like your paths crossed for a reason… appreciate you sharing your story .. it’s fantastic that people can be reminded that we are so fortunate to have the special souls in our lives as long as we do.. thankyou for sharing your story…

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  12. Yes, life can throw you curve balls, some of them we catch, some we dont. I am glad that Ted took his girls and went on a healing trip with friends and family. I am sure meeting you and your wife was healing for him and it gave you something to really think about. I lost my husband to cancer 14 years ago and I went to Mexico with my 10 year old son and a family friend, she babysat for us from the time my son was 3, she was 15 at the time. My husband had only passed 3 months before and I felt I needed to really get away and we happened to meet a woman and her family on the plane, we were all going to Mexico. She had just lost her brother to cancer. I am sure it was meant to be. It is easier sometimes to talk to people that don’t really know you, it is more therapeutic, and we were going through early stages of grief. Unfortunately grief has many stages and doesn’t go away, you just learn to deal with it. I hope you and your wife continue to take care of each other, keep talking, communication is so important and yes, life can change in the blink of an eye. Don’t have regrets, enjoy the good times and hang on to each other through the tough ones. You sound like an intelligent caring family man, it is so refreshing to hear your story. and the fact that you appreciated it, took the time to know Ted and realize how lucky you are to have each other. Thanks for sharing.

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  13. God works in very mysterious ways. You were meant to meet the Family. Thank God you were there for him & his daughters you did help him in many ways & I am sure he very much Appreciated everything you all did for them. Hopefully you now can all be Best friends. Yes we never know what life will bring us. We all must live as if it is our last day here on earth. God bless you all.

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  14. Wow! I believe things happen for a reason. I believe God places people in our lives to teach us humility, faith, praise, strength, humour. Do you see where I’m going with this? I often marvel at people and situations I find in front of me. May God continue to bless you and your family.

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