Monday, December 15, 2008

Not Alone

I don't know what the hell is going on with the world, but I am surrounded by disaster. Thank goodness it hasn't touched me yet, but I feel as if there is some Kharmic warning festooning about me. First a friend of mine was tragically ran over in an attempt to stop the vehicle he had forgotten to put in park from running over his pregnant wife who had fallen in front of the vehicle. Not even a day later, I sent an email out to some of my friends whom I haven't spoken to or heard from in a long time, in order to get their addresses so that I could send each of them a Christmas card. I came to find out that another guy I used to work with, Ryan—the absolute nicest guy on the planet—lost his wife last month. She wasn't even sick with anything major like cancer. The week before she died in the hospital, she came down with flu-like symptoms. Tests revealed that a virus was attacking her heart, then suddenly she was gone. Can you believe that?! Ryan was there beside her when it happened. She was perfectly healthy.

Ryan had to sell his home and move in with his parents. He's left alone to raise two girls, ages 6 months and 3 years. It's hard enough with two parents. I called him and offered my condolences, but what can one really offer in that situation except empty words? Awful, just tragic.

I thank my lucky stars and twenty other clich├ęs.

Then, last night, my friends down the street from me lost their home in a fire. They were out when it started—thank GOD! The neighbors said that it sounded like a howitzer had gone off. Apparently a propane line had exploded. My friend came home to see the fire only in the back porch area, but it quickly spread. The fire department killed the power in my neighborhood, prompting me to go out and see what was going on. I had to sneak through the woods to get there because the police barricaded the streets. I just knew it, after talking to people who were walking up the dark streets that the house was my friend's. "The eighth one on the left," came one answer to my inquiry, which was second-hand information as reported by a fireman.

When I got there my fears were confirmed. And there was my friend, with his family, huddled together on the street outside their blazing home, tears in their eyes. The flames and burned through the roof by then. Again, I just didn't have the words. What do you say to someone who is watching everything they have in life going up in flames—all the memories, the pictures, the videos of their babies being born, the pictures their kids had drawn since preschool, the love and care put into every choice detail of their home, their financial records and the sentimental memorabilia from their own childhoods—everything wiped out, leaving them with nothing but the clothes on their backs?

At least they had their lives, and the insurance to build another home—hopefully. You never really know how good your insurance is until you need it.

If somebody asks me how I am, I have to say that I am fucking wonderful, the king of the world. I am alive, my kids and my wife are healthy, I have a great job and I can pay the bills. My wife is calling all the neighbors now and trying to collect donations of kids clothing and money to help them get through this. They have family close by where they are staying. I've offered to watch the kids for them, and to be there for whatever they need. There's not much I can do by myself, but I hope the neighborhood will come together and show them that they are not alone in this world.

12 comments:

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Scott - I am sure your neighbors will step up to the plate. You have to give a hand to that family - they need all of you now. I know what you mean, though. Reading through your post, I was nodding my head in affirmation, and thinking of all the crap happening here in my neck of the woods. It's all over the place. And that is JUST what it is - crap!!! We all have to thank our lucky stars (and twenty other cliches.) You think you have it rough, or you are down in the dumps - and then you hear of something that makes you ashamed of yourself for thinking that way. Everything IS relative!! Find a few beautiful things that are happening and dwell on those, if you can. I find it helps me when I get down and out about the state of things.

Toni Anderson said...

We have to remember what we have and how lucky we are. Good for you Scott, for being there fore your friends.

JR's Thumbprints said...

I remember reading an article in The Detroit Free Press about your friend's accident. His wife was returning a library book.

I guess you never know when your time has come.

Other bad luck: The jobless rate continues to grow in Michigan. My brother lost his engineering job after 23 years of loyalty. At least he has his health and family to see him through it.

On a different note: I hope the holidays bring you joy.

Scott said...

KLaw - You are right, the neighbors did step up. I think I'll post about it.

Toni - These kinds of things are a stark reminder of how temporary this all is.

JR - Sorry about your friend. I worry about my job all the time, being in that same industry. It seems that for now I'm ok. It's funny though, by now I thought I would have felt the pinch of outsourcing, and although it has affected me in at least one instance, there are jobs still out there to be had. Thanks for the well-wishes, and same back atcha. Thanks for dropping by.

Jada's Gigi said...

Yes, I remind myself and my kids when life gets tough...there are a LOT of people who have it MUCH harder than us. I am so thankful! God bless your friends...

Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

Someone great once said that no matter how bad you think you've got it, there's always someone who's got it worse.

SIM said...

Scott, I have re-read your post several times and get extremely sad for the people who have been so tragically hurt. I am sure all of them are very grateful for the support you have shown each of them and for your friendship. I wish you and your family peace during this stressful time.

mr. schprock said...

By comparison, we're all lucky. The one about the guy getting run over by his car to save his wife really hurt - it's like a nightmare of mine.

jenbeauty said...

Right there with you Scott. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Vesper said...

Oh, such terrible things happen to people... makes me so sad...
Under such circumstances, you're even afraid to be thankful for your good luck...

Enjoy the Holidays, Scott, and enjoy your family! All the best in the New Year!

DixieBelle said...

From working in the medical field all my life, I have learned this:
Life is fragile. You are never promised tomorrow no matter what you do. We had a patient, a big healthy guy from Germany, who died exactly like your friend's wife. A virus attacked his heart and he died within a few days.
Each healthy day is a blessing.

Alan said...

This will put some perspective in my ass for sure. Did your friend who got run over die? And his pregnant wife had to see it? Because ... just ... damn.

It's got to be hard to be in the middle of all that. Hell, it's hard just reading about it.

Here's hoping you and your family find a spot of joy for yourselves. If even for a moment.