Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Life and Death
Yesterday was a sad day for our family. My husband's father, who was recently felled by a massive stroke, died early in the morning. He was about to turn 85. His passing is a blessing; he was confined to a nursing home, bedridden, paralyzed on one side, unable to speak. None of us were sure of his comprehension other than the light we saw go in and out of his eyes. My mother in law is devastated. He was part of her life for sixty years and she is bereft. As the mother of another friend of mine, after losing her husband of 47 years, said recently,
"Half of me is gone."
That is a powerful statement. It made me stop and think about the feelings I will have if my husband goes before me. I've known him since I was 16. While I remember life without him, we were married, divorced, re-married, I don't want to think about that any longer. A long lasting relationship does get taken for granted. The after shock of this sinks in once we are irrevocably parted.
A real tragedy played itself out yesterday as well in the life of my elder son. Over the weekend he called home full of concern about one of his best friends. He had gone away without explanation after his girlfriend broke off their relationship. He'd talked about suicide and my son was concerned enough to contact the police. My son spoke with the ex girlfriend and she too was concerned, having contacted the boy's parents who lived in other parts of the country. Everyone's worst fears were confirmed when the news came yesterday afternoon this boy of 23 years, just graduated from college, son of a well-to-do family, had locked himself in the family garage, got in the car, turned on the engine and gave up his life.
My son called last night sobbing. He'd lost his grandfather in the morning and a dear friend that afternoon. It was just too much to bear. I sobbed along with him, unable to comfort or hold him; my heart breaking.
I lost a close friend like this ten years ago. She was unhappily married, living in Las Vegas, away from her beloved San Diego beaches. She drank too much. She called sporadically. But she never reached out. She just went in the garage one day, turned on the car and passed out in the seat. That was ten years ago and I've never understood it nor stopped missing her.
Losing my husband's father, the boys' grandfather, is sad but it is part of the life cycle. He lived a long and full life; most of it quite happy. The terrible act of suicide is tragedy; the implications heart wrenching and far reaching. Everyone is affected. We choose to remember the departed in good times but it is the death that haunts us.
Wondering always, "Why?"