Those Left Standing
How would you feel if when the sun came up, you realized your life had changed forever? It’s something to consider. We all make plans, some of which pan out perfectly and others that fall flat. Furthermore, our lives are filled with unknowns and surprises, shocks and prizes. These are not earthshattering notions.
This past week the news has been filled with horrifying stories. (And, really, what week isn’t?) Four marines and a sailor were killed for no good reason, five females were massacred in a suburban home, and a former foster kid decided to take matters into his own hands. The result? Two deaths. Critical injuries. Traumatized teens. Everyone searches for reasons why such events occur; often the attention is focused on the perpetrator. Why would someone do such a thing? What made him tick? While, of course, those are important speculations, I’ve been thinking more about those left standing. How are they facing a new day? It isn’t easy.
I know of what I speak, having lost my son to brain cancer in 2013; I’m not alone though. Death happens every day: parents losing children, children losing parents, spouses losing mates, and friends losing loved ones. Sometimes it’s because of illnesses, accidents, or random cases of a person being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Too often, though, it’s a shocking, unexpected homicide, like those mentioned above. The day after arrives, and the survivors continue living. Some folks manage better than others, but, in my view, it truly is just that: a management issue. It’s like trying to run a race with a permanently broken leg. How does one fare in a new normal? It’s not a cakewalk. One cannot trivialize loss; many of us walk that path. It’s for that reason, perhaps, that I empathize so deeply with the survivors of recent tragedies, too many to count. The fact is, loss hurts. They know. I know.
Fortunately folks rely on resources that work for them to get by: prayer, a belief system, counseling, family, friends, or simple tenacity, a persistent effort to keep moving forward. In recent weeks a new set of individuals has joined so many others of us at the back of the pack. My hope for them, however difficult it may be, is that they manage to face the future with courage and stay standing.