Wednesday, March 07, 2012


Today I am again reminded of the fragility of life. I have had way too many reminders in the past year. It seems like almost every other month life sends me a memo. These memos are painful and I feel like screaming, "I GET IT! ENOUGH ALREADY!"
But today's reminder was especially painful.
I have not lost anyone especially close to me. Some who have moved on were acquaintances in my younger years, others were friends of friends, one was a woman who was dear to me when I was a child. Today a dear lady I have known for many years lost her child. Her boy was just 20 years old and a hard-working young man who loved his mama. He took a lunch break to grab a hamburger -- just a 5 minute drive from his job. On the way home last Friday he was in a car accident. He was not wearing a seatbelt. He never woke up to talk with his family and say goodbye. He was in a coma for 5 days and was removed from life-support today.
I have no idea how my friend will go on. I feel pain for her and I when I try to reach the level of pain she must be feeling I cannot even come close to imagining it. I look at my two healthy, adventurous children and I really cannot even imagine. Words of comfort for her are hard to form.
This is a woman for whom life has been misery. But that is my definition and I would never say that to her. To her, life, until today, was okay. But to hear her story you would suck in your breath and find it hard to exhale. This is a devout woman and to her god I say, WHY? What more do you want from her? She began her life poor, the oldest of 8 children in Mexico. She took care of her younger siblings from a young age, and I'm sure she did this well. She is a loving person. If her youth wasn't stolen from her by having to parent young siblings, it certainly was when she was kidnapped at the age of about 13 by someone known to the family. She was basically enslaved and sexually abused and held for a couple of years. She was finally returned to her family and even though they knew who had done this to their daughter, nothing was done to the man. She made her way to the USA and worked hard and became an American Citizen (she voted for Bush, but I still love her). She worked and waited until later in life to have her three children. Unfortunately her choice in a partner was not a good one. The man who is the father of her children is a louse. She finally steeled herself and kicked him out. But many years later when he had health problems, she took him back into her home to care for him. She thought he was in his last days, but he rallied and regained some health. Although he has a job he has started drinking again.

She wanted her children to attend college, but she didn't have the means to provide it for them and they chose to work instead. Her daughter finally enrolled in college but became pregnant in her first term. Now daughter and granddaughter are living at home. The oldest son lives at home as does the louse of a partner and a sister and niece. She lives in a tiny house in Pacoima that backs to the freeway. The neighborhood is not good and she worked her butt off to make sure her kids stayed out of trouble and stayed in school until they graduated. She fretted about the hooligans roaming the streets and her worst fear was that one of her boys would be a victim of violence. Her dream was to rent an apartment in a safe area, but her husband wouldn't sell the house and she didn't make enough money to start over again.
I remember so many times her talking about her baby boy -- she had a very special relationship with him and she and I talked so much about the similarities about her boy and my boy. My boy and I also have a very tight bond.

Just last Monday she told me her youngest son was so excited because he got a new puppy. I can't believe it was just over a week ago. And now he is gone.

This post is rambling, but I am still stunned. Amanda wrote a sweet note to my friend to say that she "hopes your son is doing better in heaven," but I don't know if I will deliver it. It might be too painful.

I remember once I was on vacation with some friends in Palm Springs when Amanda was just about a year and a half or two years old. Some of our friends didn't have kids yet. I was hitting the sauce quite hard (as we do on this adult vacations) but I remember sitting with two friends who didn't have kids. They asked me what advice I had about having kids. I didn't hesitate. "Don't do it," I said. "It opens you up to experiencing the worst pain you could imagine. I love my children and now that they are here I wouldn't wish that they weren't, but I can say that I would tell someone contemplating it, not to do it. The pain that I can only just try to imagine is too much to bear." I distinctly remember that conversation and I remember thinking about it over the years. I don't know why but it just popped out and I felt so strongly about it that I actually wanted to grab one of my friends and shake her and scream, "Don't do it! The potential for pain is too great!" There has been so much joy with our family, but that lingering "what if" is always there.

No comments: