I know I haven’t posted in awhile and there is a reason for that…her name is Mother Nature. I live in the Northeast of the USA and we have been getting slammed with snow storms and Ice storms and stomach viruses and the Flu, getting served with court papers (a story for another day, I assure you) and kids missing too much school….you get the idea. Today, however, I got slapped in the face by a something that is too much to handle on my own.
There was a fatal car accident on a well known highway today. A car slammed into a concrete bridge post. The reason why or how the driver lost control of her vehicle is absolutely irrelevant. She lost her life and now her family is in mourning. Her friends are grieving. She had passed upon impact. That is far from any consolation that they might take comfort in right now, but eventually, some might find that a tender thought. Others will be angry for a long time. It is a disturbing and real fact of life. Accidents, fatal accidents, happen all the time on that stretch of highway. I always say a prayer for the victim and the family and go about my day. But not this time. Because this time, I knew the woman that died. And I feel guilty for grieving.
Now your probably asking, “Why in the world would you feel guilty?!”. Well, because we were not friends. More like acquaintances. We grew up together. Junior High, High School, when I came home from the Army I played softball against her team in the adult co-ed league. I even saw her not too long ago at the store. Not a word was said to each other, but a smile was shared. She was one of the “popular” girls. The popular girls always picked on a girl like me. I didn’t buy my clothes at the mall, or put on makeup everyday (hell, I wasn’t even allowed to own makeup until I was 17). I wasn’t ridiculously pretty and to be quiet honest I was (and still am in a way) freakishly lanky and not at all graceful. But when the other girls would make fun of my too short pants or my “kmart kickers”, she never took part. She always made a point to come to me and apologize and make sure I was ok. I always remembered and was thankful to her for that.
So that’s my extent of “knowing” her. We had conversations here and there, but we never hung out or anything of that nature. And yet I feel a loss. Here was a woman who is gone. I remember her when we were gawky teenagers and the stupid things our teachers would say that we would laugh at. She was part of my graduating class. We ended up having the same friends and hanging around in the same circles as adults. But what it really does is make me realize how short life really is. Its not about who you know, or how well you know someone. Its about being a community and letting each other know that its ok to feel a loss. Yes, we all graduated and went our separate ways 14 years ago, but we really need to stick together sometimes. This is one of those times. We need to say hey, life is too short to be risking everything. Don’t be stupid. Be responsible so we can all get together for the next reunion (which I might actually go to this time…maybe). On the same note, take that trip you always wanted to go on. Go out with the girls (or boys). Spend a little extra for dinner. I mean seriously, wherever we end up, I am sure currency has no value.
So hug your kids a little tighter. Kiss your spouse/significant other/partner a little more. Call that cousin or friend you’ve been meaning to call and just haven’t gotten around to it. You never really know when it will end.