Thursday, September 3, 2015

An unexpected tribute

Every morning I check Facebook while I wait for N to drag her sleepy self downstairs and "officially" begin our day.

This morning, I read news that a friend from college died in a fall.  I thought it was a joke at first, or that it was about someone else.  But it isn't a joke, and it isn't about someone else.

I feel like I've been hit in the gut.

On the way driving N and our neighbor to school, the horrible pop channel that the kids like was playing the Charlie Puth song, "When I See You Again," a song I would, under normal circumstances, ignore and abhor.  And even though it is smaltzy, I started to tear up.

DS and I were not close.  We never hung out.  I don't know his wife or parents.  I think he is a year or so older than me, but I'm not entirely sure.  I have no real reason to feel so saddened by the news of his passing.

And yet, I do.

I debated whether to post any kind of tribute to him on Facebook and tag him, for his family and friends to read.  But I felt compelled, and I feel compelled to write this.

Isn't that the power of someone remarkable, that I don't really know him, and yet he made such an impact on me, on my memories of my undergraduate college experience, that I feel deeply saddened to know he has left this Earth?

Isn't that what any of us would hope our child to be and do in this be so memorable in their kindness and gentleness that the small world in which they lived is devastated to hear of their tragic, accidental death?

Being an egotist (or at least fearful of being an egotist), I have asked myself whether this feeling of sadness is really  Has it rocked me because it has reminded me of my own mortality?  Has it knocked me for a loop because it has reminded me of how fragile my own life, and my husband's life, and my children's lives are?

Well, yes.  Of course.  Every death does that, I think.  Reminds us in a way we can forget in our normal goings-on.

But there are lots of people I know who might have passed suddenly that I wouldn't feel so sucker punched about.

DS was human, was fallible, was fragile, was sometimes mean or hurtful as we all are.  I never witnessed these, but all of us have our not-so-great traits.  But what I knew, and what I keep reading others say, is that he was helpful and quiet and friendly and all kinds of qualities that made anyone who knew him feel like he understood them.  He made me feel like I wasn't as weird or as alone as I might have felt (and, Lord knows, I felt weird and alone in the midst of college angst).

That is a tremendous way to be in life, and so a tremendous loss is felt.  

1 comment:

Robin said...

Very thoughtful and appropriate. I think it's important to remember people who have touched our lives, even in passing.