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Saturday, September 02, 2006


a complete departure

Normally, I try to write a humorous column here, trying to put an upbeat look on the world around me on a particular week. So this week, I'd thought I'd warn you, this column is a complete departure. I wrote in the not so distant past about having a week of Mondays.
Nothing in that week could compare with the week a co-worker of mine just had to have the unfortunate position of living through.
In one short, panicked phone call he received the news that frightens a parent. "Your son has been in an accident, please come to..."
From there on I'm sure the updates we were getting were upbeat, until the last one letting us know that he died. At that point, life at work took a nose dive. We were living on the outskirts of this horrible tragedy. They were entering, hands down, the worst nightmare of their lives.
None of us should have to ever live through the death of their child. It just shouldn't be allowed. No one should have their little ones precede them into the afterlife.
How can anyone fathom getting up one bright summer morning, serving breakfast, saying goodbye and set off for work and then never, ever see your precious offspring again? What makes this event even more tragic is this 13 year old young man had been a cancer survivor. Wasn't supposed to survive past age 5. He was a miracle and the couples only child. He was on his bike (wearing a helmet) and collided with an SUV. From what little we know, the driver was not speeding and he was not being reckless, as kids on bikes sometimes dare to be.
Imagine when that horrible day was over, he and his wife had to go back to their home to try and sleep-knowing their lives had been changed, irrevocably, forever.
My parents lived through that horror. 45 years later, they've never been able to shake it. Move on, go forward, have a life, but never have they forgotten the pain or the hole that the loss made in their lives. I know-I was the surviving offspring, and although I was only 4, forty-five years later, I remember it vividly.
When we all received the news, one fellow co-worker, who's son is close to the same age, said he would probably have a heart attack and die out of grief if this were him.
I walked down to the ladies room and cried.
I cried for the loss of a valiant little boy who will be mourned by many.
I cried for his parents, for I can only imagine the grief they must be feeling.
And help me, because I also cried out of relief that my pregnant daughter with complications is here for me to worry about and my tattooed son, bless his bodyart, is here for me to grimace at.
All of those petty peeves are actually joys, when you consider the awful alternative.

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