#080 - I AM SERIOUS, SERIOUSLY
I happen to have just finished reading Mary Roach's "Stiff". It's a book about some of the things that could happen to your body when you're done with it. Organ donation, whole-body donation, land-mine testing, lots of stuff. As I age, I occassionally think about what to do with my body once I'm dead. Or, more accurately, what other people will do with my body once I'm dead, since I won't be doing anything with it. And, of course, thinking about that kind of thing obviously segues into thinking about death. And, sometimes, the soul or after-life. I can be kind of detached from it all, as a middle-aged guy. But sometimes, I can't be detached. Like today.
People die. That's kind of an obvious end-statement. But kids die. And that's why I'm bummed. I could be upset about the thousands of children who die all the time, from violence or starvation, around the world. But for me, it's one little girl.
I ride horses. Riding horses puts you close to families, and often kids. For the past two years, I've ridden with a girl who just turned 11 last month. She was brave - not afraid of any horse or any riding conditions. (The young can be like that.) And she had fun - she always had fun. And now she's gone, taken out by a traffic accident that was certainly no fault of her own, and perhaps no one's fault.
She will never grow into the awesome woman she should have been. Her parents are grieving for her loss, for our loss, as are all her friends. It saddens me immensely - knowing I will never ride with her again, knowing the joy and heartache of growing into adulthood that she has missed out on.
So what did I do when I heard? I called my mother.
I'm not sure why I called. The nearly-rational part of me said that I wanted to make sure my mother, who is a lot older than 11, was still alive. You never know how long that's going to last. But the not-quite-as-rational part of me, the boy in the man, just needed his mom. I needed to tell her that a friend died, and hear her say that it was sad, and that I would be ok. I learned a little bit about myself that day.
I also know that I will miss Isabel very much, and will think of her often.
If you're reading this - go call your mother, or someone else very close to you, and just chat for a couple of minutes. Enjoy the fact that you're both alive. Please.
09 March 2011