It's been a little while since I've posted anything. I can't really explain why. Busy? Sure. Lack of inspiration? Sure. Some tough personal stuff? Sure.
Over the course of a month, I dealt with the death of three people I know. I wasn't incredily close to the people who died, but I was close to those most affected by their deaths. My best friend losing her father just a couple months before she was to have her first child. My secretary losing her husband (who was also a coworker of mine) after major surgery to remove a lung ravaged by cancer. All the teachers at the kids' daycare, who lost their daycare center director (who was also the partner of one of the teachers) in a mysterious drowning in a neighborhood pond.
I haven't experienced a lot of death in my life, certainly not that much death in such a short amount of time. The death of my secretary's husband hit me really hard as I had seen him a very short time before the surgery at work and he looked fine. He was a very high level manager and had recently come to talk to a bunch of us about this terrible new performance system we recently came under. He seemed fine. He seemed strong. But he was dealing with a very rare form of aggressive cancer. There was great hope that the surgery to remove his lung would let him lead a normal life. I knew the surgery was very serious, but the news of his death still hit me like a ton of bricks. At work, I broke down several times. Unfortunately, it was usually in the presence of male colleagues, most of whom were in superior positions. It wasn't all my fault. One of them had the nerve to take me aside and ask very sincerely and kindly "how are you doing?" (that's tongue in cheek, I actually hold him in higher esteem now for doing that).
I lose it very easily (I blame you, Mother!). Not a good quality when you're trying to be supportive and strong for those that are mourning the loss of their loved ones.
To sum it up...death sucks. It's unfair (please, don't bother telling me life isn't fair, I actually had someone tell me that when we were grieving for the husband of my secretary, for some crazy reason, those words of wisdom don't help). It makes me think about mortality. It reminds me that there is no guarantee that the people I love most will be around me forever. I don't like thinking about that stuff.
Additionally, at some point, on some blog, I stumbled upon the news of a beautiful little four year old boy who lost his life to brain cancer. 4 years old. My son is 4 years old. I've been drawn to the mom's writings since their son's passing. I don't know why I keep going back to see how she's doing because I lose it almost every single time. I guess in some ways I feel selfish if I don't visit, if I don't share in the remembering of his life, in the mourning of his death. And really, the heartache I feel for that family pales in comparison to what they experienced. Who am I to complain about how it brings me down when I can go home and hug my children? My mind cannot even comprehend what I would do in that mom's shoes. I cannot imagine a pain worse. I have a lump in my throat just thinking about it. It reminds me of how I reacted after 9/11, I couldn't peel my eyes off the television. I felt the duty to mourn, to "never forget."
But I don't think it's good for me to visit that site. I should turn my sympathy (or compulsion or whatever it is) into something productive. Whether it's volunteering time to do something to help little children going through something similar or spending extra minutes with my own children, I need to remove myself from things that make me think about death and concentrate on the good that is living.