About three years ago, a good friend and former co-worker of my wife started calling up to chat, sometimes, literally, for hours. She had moved about 75 miles from our local area, and her excuse was that she had excess time on her cell phone plan which she had to 'use it or lose it'. It was nice the first few times, but then sort of got to be a nuisance, and my wife would ask me to tell a little white lie and say she wasn't home when Fran called. No problem, Fran would natter away at me for an hour about her kids, her husband, her job, her social life, her mother, her ... This went on for about 6 months. Prior to that, Fran called maybe once a year, talked for half an hour to 'catch up', and that would be it.
Then one day, Fran's husband called. Fran was dead, at age 46, from a brain tumor. She had what she thought was the flu, with a terrible headache. She sent her youngest off to high school that morning and said she was going to lay down and rest. She never woke up. Very sad story.
Up until this happened, I had a somewhat contentious relationship with one of my daughters. In her mid-20's, she is still directionless, working for several months each in successive dead-end jobs before getting tired of the job, mouthing off to her supervisor and then quitting. She was, and still is, forever broke and hitting up her mom for a 'loan' to pay her rent or fix her car or buy groceries. There were times when I wouldn't speak to her for 2 or 3 months running. After Fran's sudden passing, I realized that either I or my daughter could die at any time, from any cause (this was before my colon cancer diagnosis). I resolved to change things a bit, and now whenever I talk with any family member, my parents, my children, my in-laws who are my second set of parents, I always end the conversation with "I love you". It probably sounds hokey coming from a 54 year old man, but I say it because I mean it. I couold not forgive myself if someone in my family were to die suddenly, unexpectedly, and my last conversation with them had ended in a fight.
You just never know.