Facebook memories are a mixed bag. Most of the time, I see things that remind me of happy times, and of funny jokes between friends. Other times, it reminds me of sadder times. Three years ago, Guppy’s friend lost his father. At the time, I wrote this.
Life is rarely fair, and death even less so. It is easy to lament the death of a stranger, or even of a thousand but it is only when that death is closer to home that we can truly appreciate how terrible it is. No picture in a newspaper, no quote by a grieving mother or widow can truly convey how sad it is to lose a loved one.
And death truly is not fair. People die every day, but it is rarely the ones who should. I work with people who are waiting for loved ones to die – they are but shells of their former selves as old age, dementia, and disease have rotted away cognitive functions. Personalities are gone or changed; memories have faded. Mothers no longer recognize sons, fathers forget daughters. A common refrain is that “getting old sucks.” Yet, what would we give for the opportunity to get old, and see that for ourselves. After all, to live a full life, to see your son become a man, to watch your children grow up and become adults themselves – strong, independent, wonderful adults – that is the goal. It seems so cruel that life would allow some people to live well beyond their ability to remember how wonderful life is, and take others long before they have that chance.
Guppy has a friend. His father was a very good man, and by all accounts a beloved teacher. I knew that he taught in the middle school that Guppy would attend and thought how wonderful he’d be to teach her. He died yesterday – a tick bite in August created a cascade of health issues. Instead of living a full life, he leaves a wife, and three children.
Life is rarely fair, and death even less so.