I saw an acquaintance of mine, yesterday. I was at the phone store, was having trouble receiving emails to my phone and that is such a convenience. I was there to have the problem identified and corrected as quickly as possible. I arrived and talked with my acquaintance, the man who helped me when I purchased my phone and had everything transferred over from another carrier. My new carrier has a great team of people and I have been in and out of their location many times over the last six months.
So, I saw my acquaintance and told him about my phone. Soon, into it he asked if I had tried turning my phone on and then off and I remembered that had worked for things before. We set that in process. While I was waiting, I turned to him and said, “How are you? How is your life?” And there was a pause. He said, “Actually, there has been a tragedy.” It was not what I expected to hear. You never know, if you ask of a person’s life, what the response will be. It was clear something horrific had happened in his life.
His mother-in-law, his sister-in-law and his child had all been killed in a train accident. I am frozen, here, while writing just thinking about it. Trying to comprehend this reality. How does a person go on? How is it possible for a person to be standing after experiencing this kind of tragedy and loss? It is unfair what some people go through. My words to him could not possibly be enough. I saw in his eyes, of course, continued shock. Horror of the sudden tragedy that was only a month before.
We talked for a little while. I had heard of the accident happening outside the town I live in. It never once occurred to me that I might know someone involved in this. He will be deeply affected by this for the rest of his life. His child was one year of age. For all the babies being born today, how many of us grasp the concept that within one year the life we have been blessed with might also pass from us on this earth? Anyone in your life can be here today and gone tomorrow. I want to live with the greater appreciation of EVERY day. When you say goodbye to someone you love, remember that though love is permanent our presence on this earth is not. Not one of us knows when our time here will be at its end in the natural way.
As I turned to say goodbye, I reached in to give my acquaintance a hug. I thanked him for sharing this with me, for being so personal. I found myself with the beginnings of wanting to say that everything would be okay. But I did not. I stood back and more accurately said, “I want to say that everything will be okay. But I can’t say that. I don’t know if it will be. I don’t know if it ever will be.” For why is it that terrible tragedy could come into a person’s life? And how can it be that someone will have to find a way to live in a world that is already tough enough to navigate without even bringing in such devastating loss. Three lives, this child was his only child.
I spent the day and night with my youngest child, playing, talking, living, loving. Remembering we have no guarantees. Those who have lost a child know this better than the rest. Love while you can. There are no guarantees. Love can be promised but not our time here. Wrap those you love in your arms today and live love in full consciousness.
A motto of an artist friend of mine is: Dare to love wastefully. Let’s all go do that.