Merriam-Webster.com defines sudden as:
1 a : happening or coming unexpectedly <a sudden shower>
Wiktionary.org lists the etymology of the word as:
From Middle English sodain, from Anglo-Norman sodein, from Old French sodain, subdain (“immediate, sudden”), from Vulgar Latin *subitānus (“sudden”), from Latin subitaneus (“sudden”), from subitus (“sudden”, literally, “that which has come stealthily”), originally the past participle of subire (“to come or go stealthily”), from sub (“under”) + ire (“go”).
“That Which Has Come Stealthily”
- A 2 a.m. phone call from the highway patrol.
- Someone collapses because of a stroke while at dinner with their spouse.
- A wife comes home from work and presses the answering machine button and listens to a message from the rehab doctor stating her spouse “has taken sick” and she needs to get in there right away. (been there, done that, it sucks.)
Those are 3 very different circumstances all with one thing in common – suddenness.
No Warning Shot
There was no warning Thursday night when I last saw Joe alive and well, that the next morning blood vessels at the base of his brain would rupture causing a stroke. I kicked myself for days wondering what I missed that Thursday night. Then I talked to the staff in the rehab unit and they confirmed I missed nothing. He was fine when they brought him his breakfast and 1 ½ hours later they could not wake him.
They had no warning either:
- There was no flashing neon sign above his bed at breakfast.
- No one fired a warning shot across the bow of the nurse’s station.
- There was no robot rolling around the rehab floor yelling “Danger Will Robinson.”
The staff of the rehab unit was stunned.
Out Of Nowhere
Joe’s stroke lived up to the etymology – “that which has come stealthily.” It burst from out of nowhere. It was not there one second and there the next.
So while I am unable to relate to another person’s circumstances, I can relate to “that which has come stealthily” feeling.
May you never experience suddenness. If you do, God will give you the strength and you will become a better person for dealing with it.