Seven months into the year and I've already heard of more hardships among people I know than perhaps I've heard my whole life. A friend lost two brothers and her mother within 13 months, another, after losing her first baby moments after birth, lost her second child in a miscarriage, another lost his wife of 40 years, another, a father of two, was diagnosed with terminal lung and brain cancer, and last weekend a friend lost her husband and the father of her toddler. It keeps piling up.
Last Thursday Candy was outside spray-painting picture frames to display some of her photos. Our darling daughter was tooling around in our driveway playing with sidewalk chalk. I was inside taking a moment on the couch when I heard a giant cracking sound coupled with a scream I'd never heard before, followed by a crash. I tried to react as fast as I could, but like a cartoon character revving up for a race, my socked-feet pedaled like they were on ice, leaving the rug rippled behind me. When I got out the side door Candy was clutching our beloved. A dead tree-limb on our neighbors lot had fallen onto his house then tumbled onto the hood of our car in the driveway. The car was a foot in front of our gate, our daughter was a foot behind the gate. In tears, Candy tried to explain the sinking feeling she had when she heard the initial crack and saw the shadows above her shift. We caravanned inside, sat down, holding each other, we thanked our lucky stars that the limb crushed our car, not our child. I never want to hear a scream like that again.
In these moments we're forced to contemplate what we'd do if the unthinkable happened. Who would we become? How would we continue to live? And yet, people do it every day. They adapt, against their will, to living with new realities, and without the sight, sound, smell and feel of their beloveds.
Part of me wants to turn this into a railing against anyone who tries to comfort those left behind with classical notions that their loved ones are in a better place, or they're at peace now, or any of the other things people like to say when they want to make sense of the senseless. But this is not that time.
I have no wisdom to share. I have no experience to aid. I have no words to comfort.
But god-dammit I'm thinking about you all. And wishing you didn't have to deal with any of it.