Loss

April 3, 2011

Are you ever caught off guard by something… overwhelmed by the emotions of something unexpected?

Earlier this week I heard about someone who had died. I didn’t hear a name, just that she was 27 and had a 5 month old. I remember thinking how sad that was, how hard it must be to pick up the pieces after something like that happens.

But then today, I read the obituary. I saw her picture. It was someone who went to my high school and graduated just a year ahead of me. Someone I didn’t know but who was familiar to me; someone I knew but didn’t know. I read the summary of her life and what she was like, the legacy she left to those who loved her. She reminded me, in ways, of myself. Like I could relate to this woman somehow. Yet, if we had passed each other on the street a few weeks ago, we may have smiled politely but that’s all.

I fought back tears reading it. She had a baby. Can you imagine? That poor baby, that poor husband. I look inward, to my own family… and I can’t. I just can’t wrap my mind around it. Not to toot my own horn, but I’m the glue that holds our family together. Most mothers and wives are. How would they move on? How does anyone?

So here I am today, keeping her and her family in my thoughts, even though we don’t know each other. Because damn. DAMN.

This year has been really tough when it comes to death and illness. Too many people we do know. Our brother-in-law lost his mother and his sister in the last month. It’s been less than a year since my husband lost his brother. One of our friends just lost his father. There are too many others to mention. Is it always like this? Are we just getting older and this is something that is going to become all too familiar? Or is this just a bad streak of luck, of health?

Last night, as I sipped a glass of wine in the late hours of my quiet living room, I watched my elderly dog. She was up and down, up and down. Couldn’t get comfortable. I didn’t know what was wrong… was it serious? Was she just achey? Does she know something we don’t? I sat down on the floor with her and did my best to comfort her, to share with her my love and strength. Right now she is sleeping by my feet. She looks sadder today than she has in a long time. Is it just the change in weather? My biggest hope is that she will stay with us, make it at least a few more months so she can lay outside in the hot sun and sniff the summer air. I want her to remember how that feels.

It is April. A month of renewal. A month where we say goodbye to winter (at least up north) and welcome the early signs of spring. The rain, the grey. The cold but not quite frigid weather. And, if we’re lucky, patches of green grass and a sparse scattering of flowers, a hint of sunshine and a bit of warmth. Dry patches on the otherwise wet sidewalks.

Today, however, it is snowing. I know a lot of people are complaining but I’m not. Snow in April never bothers me for some reason. I know it won’t stick around. I’m feeling very, very ready for spring and summer. But I can’t help but smile and give Old Man Winter a nod, and admire his ability to try to hang on tight before losing out to the warmth and the life. He eventually loses out, of course, and must let go to allow the rest of us the ability to move on.

But we all know that’s never easy, letting go and saying farewell. Moving on.

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