One of my classmates lost their mom and dad. One of Rambo’s classmates lost her father. One of my other classmates lost his mom.
At the one last night, the husband who lost his wife hugged me and said, “Man…God always takes the good ones, doesn’t He? Trouble is….He took my best friend when He took her.”I didn’t even try to stop the tears as I moved on to my classmate, his son.
All night long his words haunted me.Never does Podunk shine more than in sadness. All 4 people had 6 hour wakes and throughout those 6 hours, there was at least an hour wait to get through the line. The outpouring of love is something you can’t really put into words.
When you see the big, tough volunteer firemen walk the line sobbing or the entire high school football and volleyball teams come in as a team and cry as a team for one of their biggest supporters…you can barely watch…and the pride you feel almost bursts your heart.
You tell yourself those teenagers are way too young to have to see and feel death already but you know that death doesn’t care about the age of those left behind.When 107 bikers show up to drive a couple to their final resting place…you want nothing more than to be on your own bike showing that kind of honor to that couple who deserved it.
The entire town lived with them and a part of the entire town died with them on that last ride. Some of the toughest men I’ve ever known rode that day – in leather from head to toe – not caring how damn cold it was. One hand steering their bike, one hand wrapped around the woman’s hand wrapped around their mid-section and tears streaming down their sun-worn faces. You can’t even cry that kind of pain away. You can’t really even try thinking about the 5 children who lost their parents in an instant. You just can’t.
When you take a step back and realize that your own classmates are losing parents at an alarming rate….you then realize some day you’re going to feel that and it’s a reality you never really thought about before. It’s like being punched in the gut. And yet – you know damn well you can’t live in a fear that deep.As I laid in bed last night with Rambo’s arms around me just a little tighter than usual…he said, “I love you baby…what are you thinking about?” I said, “I’m thinking about the man we just left who will never again hold his best friend in bed at night like we’re doing now.”
Rambo said, “I walk into a prison every day with 500 men who have done the most brutal, hateful things to others and they live. They just keep on living and they shouldn’t…meanwhile these people that have touched our entire town are gone too soon. I just don’t get it.”Life is so damn un-understandable sometimes…to a point where it almost hurts physically if you try to figure it out.
This same night before I attended the wake, I went to my daughter’s volleyball game. Life, laughter and spirit were everywhere….the polar opposite of what I’d be seeing in just an hour’s time at the wake.
The same girl who has been at our house because of her tough family life had a rough night. Drama with the other girls in her class and boys and crap like that. She’s just so lost and though she comes over when she needs a reprieve and I hold her when she cries – it’s not enough. I told her 50 times last week as she cried in my arms that what her parents do or don’t do is not her fault. They are adults and they make their own choices and she looked at me and said, “But they make me feel like it is my fault.”Jesus. What do I do with that? She’ll never truly understand that it’s not – until she’s older. And now school drama on top of it. Before Watermelon left for school this morning, I said to her, “Please make sure M is not excluded today no matter what happened yesterday. I don’t think she can handle that. She needs a champion in her corner because she doesn’t have any.”
God how I pray that Watermelon has the balls to be that champion and yet a part of me is pissed because it’s not her damn job. Her job is to be a kid…not to save a friend who is drowning every day in a world of pain. There’ll be enough of those friends to save in adulthood some day.Last night Watermelon even heard M threaten to kill herself before the game. No 12 year old anywhere should have to say that, feel that or hear that. At 12, I never thought my kid would tell another kid, “Please don’t kill yourself…no one wants you to do that.”
It’s just shitty. There’s nothing I can do about it. It snaps me back to reality and makes me realize that even though it seems like death has been everywhere lately….life in the here and now requires a shitload of attention and care. Every single second here matters. What I say and do in those seconds – matters. Especially in the lives of two little girls.The 4 people that just got to heaven would want me to remember that.
And my God – I’m going to try like hell not to forget the preciousness of life….even when it tears my heart out. Their lives will not be in vain. I can promise you that.