Death, the lose of life. It is something that many of us have been bombarded with over the past few weeks. First Malaysian flight 370 with 239 passengers disappears, with seemingly no trace of where it went or what happened. Then, the horrible and tragic mud-slide in Oso, Washington. As of this morning, 25 bodies have been found, but there are so many more people that are still missing. Mothers, brothers, fathers, children, grandparents. All people that had lives, had a place in this world, with people that loved them, needed them, assumed that they would be there tomorrow.
And yet they won’t, they are gone, and in both of these tragedies, there are so many left behind, with so many questions, and so many things left unknown.
As I sit and think about all of this, all of the family members and their grief and sadness, anger and frustration over the why’s of it all, I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like, to NOT KNOW. Although I can empathize and perhaps begin to try and imagine what they are going through with the loss of someone, I can not wrap my head around that ONE detail, the NOT KNOWING. I can’t imagine, I truly can’t. Even as I am writing this, the overwhelming weight of that bring more tears to my eyes. How can they cope with that, manage to move forward, and find closure? Thinking about it, makes my heart ache.
I obviously didn’t know any of the 239 passenger on the missing plane, and even though Oso is only a two hour drive from where I live, and I do know people that live in the general area, I don’t know anyone that has been impacted by the mud-slide. But I am finding myself becoming obsessed with these people that I don’t know. Not only the ones that died, but all of the people that are left behind, with the pain of the loss, and the emptiness of not being able to say goodbye, or know that the end was upon them.
This past weekend, during the exact hours that Oso, Washington was crumbling and lives and homes and memories were being crushed, Shawn and I were at a funeral service. One of his closest friends passed away last week, having lost his 4 year battle with cancer. It is inevitable that my mind is going to begin to blur the lines between this man that I did know, and the friends and family that I stood with at the cemetery as we buried his ashes (along with a couple of beers) with the people that lost their lives on that plane, or in the mud-slide. It makes the loss of those that I don’t know much closer.
I woke up Sunday morning, with tears streaming down my face, I must have been dreaming about sad things (not very surprising.) I couldn’t stop crying, and as Shawn simply held me and let me cry, I tried to explain to him why, at that particular moment, I was crying. It was because when I woke up and saw him laying there next to me, my mind immediately went to our friend’s wife, waking up alone in her bed, as she will be for days, and months and maybe years to come. She is young, and vibrant, and beautiful, and perhaps she will find someone else to fill that spot in her bed, to share her life and raise her boys with, but for right now, looking isn’t an option and I don’t think it will be, for a very long time.
Because those boots that her husband left behind are a damn big pair of boots to fill. Maybe sometimes in remembering, we make more of what a person was, raise them up on a pedestal, remembering only the strengths and not mentioning weaknesses. But in his case, it is not possible to make more, because he simply was – a great man. A hard working, caring, loyal, dedicated, loving man, husband, father, son and employee. HE was what a person should aim to be, someone that made your life BETTER for simply knowing him. Yet for some unknown reason, HE is the one that is gone, and will be missed by so many.
I think of all that died on the plane, and in the mudslide, and I know that there were bound to be GREAT people that died there too, and it makes me angry and sad, because I just don’t understand it. Why? I KNOW that we are all going to die, that death is the inevitable end to all life, but I don’t understand why things like this happen. WHY a great man, so young, has to die from stupid shitty ass disease. Why 239 people that were simply trying to complete their travel plans NEVER made it to their destination. Why an entire community was ripped to shreds in the blink of an eye.
I am NOT a person of faith – and I don’t say that hoping to raise some endless conversation about religion because I actually DO believe in God, BUT the thing that some have a hard time understanding is that I believe in MY God, the one that has been around my whole life, knows what I have done, who I have been and what I do, and HE is ok with me, who I am and what I do. Simple as that. After all, if he wasn’t, then he would have changed SOMETHING to make me a different person, or do something different or believe in some different way, BUT this is the path that he has given me. And this is who I am and what I believe.
But that doesn’t give me an answer to the why – when there are deaths that just seem so pointless and cruel. The one thing that I can take away from all of this sadness, is to stop, and really truly APPRECIATE life and the people that I love and care about. The one thing that was repeated over and over during the funeral service, was our friend’s passion, for life and everything that he did. He figured out what it is he wanted and then put all of his focus and time into making that happen, and in the process, created a life that he really and truly loved. He found his passion. Listening to all the people that talked about him, and his life and his joy in following his dreams made me take a clear look at my life, and realize that I need to take a lesson from our friend, and put more effort and focus into MY passion. For a long time, raising my children was just that. It is what I wanted to do more than anything, and I did it, I created some damn good little people.
But they are growing up, and they don’t need me there every minute of the day any more. I realized that I have been in limbo, finding myself stuck in the rut of simply doing the same thing day in and day out, same thing, with nothing really exciting me. I am incredibly lucky to have the job that I do, and although it is a great place to work with great co-workers, I certainly don’t have a passion for it. I have spent the week thinking about it. What do I want? What am I passionate about? The answer, which is right in front of me, is writing. I LOVE writing! When I sit down at my computer to work on the book I have written, or a blog post, I get lost, time becomes irrelevant because it is something that I WANT to do, that I enjoy. It is my passion.
All the lives that have been lost over the past few weeks has made me realize that to have something that matters, that you are passionate about doesn’t mean shit if you don’t follow your dreams and pursue what it is you want. If I KNOW that I love to write, and blog, but I don’t give it all that I have in trying to succeed, then it is worthless, because I am not being true to myself, not respecting myself enough to make it a priority. It has become very apparent, that life is just too short to NOT make it all that you want it to be. I am making a promise to myself, to remember our friend, and all that he managed to accomplish in his life, and allow myself the chance to give it a shot. No more procrastinating, or putting other people’s needs in front of mine. Just as our friend said in a video he made for his two young boys in the last weeks of his life –
Find what you are passionate about and MAKE it happen. Don’t just try – simply DO IT!