If you haven't already done so, read Part I. Just scroll down a little. It's only two posts. I'll wait.
Ok, done? Great.
So we are "them"... the nameless, faceless people whose tragedies we read about over our morning cups of coffee. Them. The others. Someone else.
They were us once. Regular folks tsking over the unfortunate events of "them" until one day when they were blindsided and unceremoniously inducted into the fraternity of "them."
The inspiration for Part I was someone I knew. Kids losing their mother. A husband losing his wife. A family losing their North Star. I wonder what would happen to my family if I died. Would it be as sickeningly tragic as I imagine, or would they cope and move on without me? The wise woman in me knows that I would want them to heal, to move on, to live. But the mother bear in me knows no one else could do it better than I could. The deepest part of my heart knows that they need me, and my not being there would write indelibly on the slate of their being.
What's worse, losing your mother, or losing your child?
Sick kid, ICU, no more treatments. Curling up in their hospital bed, arms wrapped around them, careful not to disturb the myriad lines running under the sheets, listening to the death march of beeps and clicks from the machinery keeping your beloved alive, whispering promises and making bargains with God to let your precious cargo become whole again.
And then what? The ventilator becomes a morbid metronome, pacing each breath until you've crossed the event horizon, the point of no return, and you're sucked in and torn apart by the supermassive black hole. Science says it's theoretical, but you know it's real. You're in it. Time stops. And then everything you know to be true in life ceases to be.
I worked with a woman who lost her teenage daughter. Three years after her death, the woman still spoke of her child in the present tense. No one had the nerve or the heart to mention it. We didn't dare suggest that we knew what she went through. Because we didn't. We could not fathom her pain.
I wonder at her courage, her resolve, the sheer will required to get up in the morning and take a shower knowing your child is dead.
Where do you find hope after something like that?