With the tragedies of Virgina Tech and the Nasa facility in Houston, I’d say this week was a pretty sad one. When things like this happen, it makes me reflect on how precious my own life is. Makes me realize just how fast it can all be gone.
Today, Richard would have been 48 years old. Tomorrow, Judy is having a bonfire in his honor. I could see the pain in her eyes as she told me that Howard and I “had better have our asses over there”. I hate knowing that nothing I say or do will ease her pain. Tomorrow, we’ll have a drink and no doubt cry a bit, but also have a great time. We always have a great time with Judy.
Then I pull a letter out of my post office box today with no return address but postmarked from our Bering Sea Village. I open it and find a picture of the Ishnook children and immediately know the letter is from Sharon, James’ mother. I never mentioned that 10 short months ago, James’ younger sister Jade, died from an accidental gunshot wound to her face. The kids were left in the care of a careless babysitter. Jade found an old shotgun in the attic and it went off, robbing Sharon of yet another child. Sharon’s words were loving but sad. She said that she and her children have “never forgotten us and our kindness”, then told me that losing two of her children has changed her life forever. There was never any doubt to that. As I was reading it aloud to Howard, I choked up before I realized it, getting through the letter, wiping tears from my face. In the photo, her kids were all smiling and two of them were holding a framed photo of James and another framed photo of Jade.
I’m going to sit down this weekend and write her a nice long letter and thank her for writing to me and for sending along a photo.
No doubt, other people out there are feeling her pain this week. Feeling that loss of a loved one that will never really go away. It’s heart wrenching. It never gets easier.
And I’m just really glad this week is over!