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Life and Loss

Has it really been nearly two months since my last post? I always think summer is going to be this nice breather from the year’s activities, but it never is. It’s just as busy — sometimes more so — than the rest of the year.

In the last two months, we wrapped up the Bremerton Symphony’s 75th Anniversary year with a big fundraising party (June 16). That was also the same day our friend, mentioned in the last post, finally passed away from the complications of heavy alcoholism. My husband had been with him maybe an hour before, and had just joined me at our gala when he got the call. It was a bittersweet evening.

My husband was then home for another week, then gone one week traveling for work, then home again, then gone for another two weeks for a training. In that time, I was wrapping up rehearsals with my other choir, Lyrica, and creating rehearsal CDs to tide us over until we started back up in August, among other commitments.

The day my husband left for his training was the day some friends of ours announced a massively tragic accident and loss to their family that wrecked our hearts for quite some time — but they were too far away for us to be any good to them, and we were both heading out of town, in the opposite direction. All we could do was offer words of encouragement, the promise of prayers, and mourn from a distance.

About a week later, my boys and I took the opportunity to travel to South Dakota to visit family and deliver some household goods I was storing for my friend who had just moved there. The only tragedy of that trip was that our estranged sister-in-law was not in town so I could have a talk with her about our estrangement — or so our kids could play together for awhile.

Life reasserted itself when we returned: Husband came home, I had more Symphony business to attend to, as well as appointments and family commitments and a rummage sale for Lyrica and a memorial gathering for our friend… Everything, including glasses, kind of took a back seat to the Immediate — and seems to still be the case, since routines are hard and I still hate mornings. And it’s been ridiculously hot here. I tend to get pretty sluggish when it’s over 80°F in our house.

But suddenly, just when I thought we’d reached kind of a space when healing could take the place of mourning, the husband of a friend I was close to once left an ominous post on Facebook that looked, for all intents and purposes, like a suicide note — and very well turned out to be. He had jumped from a bridge near his house about half an hour after posting it. I pieced together the details, myself, before I got the official word, and spent a couple of days in shock.

I’m not going to go into detail — I’m actually composing this on my phone and it’s getting late — but suffice it to say that his death was the hardest to understand or even comprehend than the other two. The alcoholism of the first friend who died was not as much of a shock as it should have been, I’ll be honest. The death of a little child in a tragic accident can rock a world — but is just that: an accident, where no one is to blame and Godly people are rallying around them to lift them up and help them slowly heal. But in the third case, despite the fact that Godly people are rallying around his family and everyone is celebrating who he was, not what he had decided to do, I am desperately struggling with forgiveness.

I would never, ever, EVER in a million years have thought that man capable of such a fatal choice. Not him. He was steady and kind, and he loved his family and they depended on his presence in their lives. It doesn’t make sense. I keep having to remind myself that it really is real: I didn’t dream it and his family really is now without the husband and father who thought they’d be better off without him forever.

Now, as a God-fearing Christian, I understand the whispers of the Enemy — I have heard them, myself (and without getting too metaphysical, I mean that I have had those dark thoughts that make me wonder if the world would be better off without me in it. Fortunately, I was able to reject those thoughts — but not everyone can). He hadn’t been able to find work after losing his job, and possibly had fallen into a depression too deep to show or express to those around him.

I don’t know, because for reasons I won’t get into now, I haven’t been close with his wife for quite some time. Maybe that will change now — though I don’t think it will. That is heartbreaking, too. But she has her church family and friends, and I’m grateful for that. They are the reason she is afloat right now, I’m sure of it.

I just wish I could understand, and be done mourning tragedies for awhile…

*****

Disclaimer: I’m not staking any kind of selfish claim on these tragedies, but merely expressing my view from the outside. It’s painful, but obviously not as heart-rending as it would be from the immediate victims’ perspectives. My heart goes out to those who’ve lost these loved ones, and sometimes that’s all one can offer at the time.