Monday, November 19, 2007

Lesson in Tragedy

Yesterday, our High School and community experienced a tragic loss. A former student and daughter of one of our assistant principals lost her life in a one-car accident on the freeway. Her loss has still not quite set in, even after I spent the entire day among grieving faculty and coworkers.

We ALL miss her and are personally saddened by the loss of such a bright, promising young woman, but I can't imagine how the immediate family must feel, although the thoughts have now been pervading my mind since I found out late last night.

It's easy to shelter yourself against tragedy when you read about it or hear it on the news, but it is so sobering when it happens so near to you. You suddenly realize that things like this DO happen, and are not just things that happen to others. It really puts your life back into perspective and makes you reassess the truly important things in life and why you do what you do.

Having two young children, including my little 4-year-old princess, it is difficulty for me think that bad things can happen to her, or to my son. My initial reaction, of course, was to bring them in tightly, squeezing them like I never wanted to let them go. I want to protect them from everything . . . . .but I can't. No one can, and efforts to do so only insulate them from the real experiences that help them grow, learn, and enjoy their own life.

The risks are part of the game. To live in constant fear is not to live at all. All we can hope for is to make ALL the moments count, teach them well, watch them bloom, and keep our fingers cross as they walk out the door.

Elizabeth Stone once said that to be a parent is to have your heart go walking around outside your body. She nailed it.
Last night, I laid very close to my daughter all night, holding her, sneaking peeks at her precious, innocent, sleeping face, gently touching her perfect skin, stroking her silky little hair that smelled of strawberries. It took me a while to fall asleep, and when I did, I dreamed about the tragedy and the fragility of life, and woke up exhausted.

I was a bit more careful as I drove my children to their grandmother's house, and took more time telling them goodbye, for just the day, I hoped, but I couldn't be sure.

It is an awful shame that it takes a tragedy for us break the routine of our daily grind, which we too easily confuse with "our lives," to open our eyes what living REALLY is, and to what REALLY is important. Death leaves a void that nothing can fill, but LOVE creates memories that nothing can steal.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this blog. I know it has helped me in dealing with this tragedy.

Anonymous said...

well said

Brenda said...

Hmm. I enjoyed this. We take quite a few things for granted, life is one of them.