Thursday, June 16, 2016

Nous Sommes Arrivés

Well, Ben and I are here. Lori and Rachel and Jan and the cats are still en route including suffering Portland - 18 miles in 80 minutes. Ben wandered around, found his room and sat in it for awhile but has now returned multiple times to our bedroom - apparently he likes the air mattress.

I still remember arriving in near Seattle. It's nice to be in a town people have heard of, but part of it felt like a bit of a failure as the plane was taking off - I looked down at all those houses and land and thought "We didn't make it" - but I think I also felt that when we left L.A.  Maybe this is another chance for us to try to make it.  Lots of good happened in the past 10 years - to name just a few... Ben (and great medical and educational support), some things with Rachel were identified and diagnosed, we saw my brother get married (and then add four boys to their clan), Lori got to know Grandma Marjorie and we all got to make some wonderful memories with her before she passed away, we met a lot of neat friends at church and for eight years, I was what a non-profit in Federal Way needed. And things I learned there helped me into the next few things that led us back to where we are now.

So, while I grapple with this transition (and the commute!), I'm excited for this next chapter and think it's going to be really great for all of us.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Life Goes On

I think one of the cruelest parts of any tragedy is how in an instant, your life stops, comes crashing to a halt, irrevocably and forever changed.

And yet everything else keeps on.

Cars keep moving, people continue about their mundane lives. Bills are due, clouds roll across the sky and people walk by with no idea of what has just happened and you wonder - "how can I move on from this. Do I want to move on from this?  Or is it possible for me to sit on this couch until the moving company comes and tips me off of it?"

Today was one of those days that defied reason - in an instant, I learned a piece of news that I couldn't unlearn. No time machine to go back and make changes, no wishing it wasn't so, no "this can't be real."  Sure, it's still entirely possible that I could wake up and this was nothing more than a bad dream, but I don't think that's the case.  But for me, it was in some ways, nothing more than news - mt life wasn't shattered, but it did knock me about a bit.  Yeah, I cried sitting on that couch.  And I'm crying now as I type this sitting on a different couch.

Rewind to last Saturday evening.  Returning from Date Night, my wife and I remembered a couple we had lost touch with.  I don't know if either of us looked for them on Facebook since Saturday, but I know one or both of us had unsuccessfully Googled them in the past month.

But it wasn't my world that stopped.  It was theirs.  I was merely a bystander, it had probably been close to twelve years since we saw them last but there, today, on all the news websites, it was undoubtedly him.  He didn't look like he'd aged a day.  And there was no coming back from this, a hopeless, finality.  The kind that makes you very carefully say "What the heck, God?" lest you use a different H word or the F word. It's not fair, it's not right and for once for me, it's not a statistic.  The story is not mine, I'm barely tangential, not even a footnote. But, these were people who were an extremely vital part of our early marriage - people we dined with, laughed with, studied the Bible with, celebrated holidays and birthdays with.  Their life was shattered and I hurt so much for them. Not guilt, but just really deep "not getting off this couch" hurt that I'm struggling to process and am angry that there's no logical explanation because what happened wasn't logical. It was stupid, selfish and cowardly. There's no justice, there's no way to make it right, and at the moment, it must feel quite helpless.

I can't help but imagine the crime scene, about the people arriving at her doorstep to confirm her identity and then break the news, of and her trying to figure out how to tell their children. I'm imagining family trying to rally and friends (like me) who'd lost touch trying to figure out just how (and if) it's at all possible to tell them they're loved and they're being prayed for. How to hurt with them without making it about me.  (I'm not entirely sure I've not failed on that last count, but this is part of my grieving process and you, my dear readers, are my therapists.)

My world did need to go on, I needed to go pray with my daughter and get her to bed, the cats needed food and a clean catbox.  It may be surreal to hear that the president's been advised on the death of your friend or to read all the idiots ironically or seriously suggest "If only he'd been armed." and think "Nope, I'm not getting up off this couch."  But you know what else I heard as I prayed tonight?  Birds were singing.  Life does go on. It must. And somewhere in it, we must find hope.

I guess if anything, I need to end with two pleas.... one, please pray for this family.  Two, if someone comes to mind that you haven't thought of in awhile, please, for me, call them, write them, contact them. You never know when life will change and something you take for granted is no longer something you can get to someday. 
Don't want. Don't regret.

Cheers, B.  We love you, M.  (thanks, A, for the photo)