Last week, a storm hit, by way of a phone call. A destructive storm. A storm so unexpected, I never saw it coming. I was totally unprepared. A storm so forceful, it uprooted deep internal mire. Churning up the darkest, deepest emotions of pain, choices, consequences, life, and death. Churning up unfairness. Churning up loss. Churning up survivors’ guilt. Churning up helplessness. Churning up the inevitable “why” questions that never yield meaningful answers because there just aren’t any.
Churning up anger, first at the ethereal energy or being with which one recognizes and identifies. Anger misdirected because we cannot bear to direct it accurately. Why did you allow this? Why didn’t you prevent this? Why…? Why…? Why…?
Anger at ourselves, also misdirected because we cannot bear to lay it at the appropriate feet. At the feet of the one who left us with consequences for which we did not ask. “I should have…” “I could have…”
Laying the anger at the right feet may come, maybe soon, maybe never, hopefully later. Later; when strength and insight, compassion and love allow us to see that it isn’t really anger that we feel; but a deep and painful sadness for what could have been had choices been different. Sadness, deep sadness, for discerning what “free will” unconditionally means; for understanding how “free will” can manifest in others.
How can I console and comfort them when I am crying; aching in sadness at yet another loss. In pain, having gone through this before. In pain, watching them go through this for the first time. In pain, knowing that it may not be the last time. In pain, just wanting the madness that continues to stop. STOP! Please STOP! Damn it, STOP!
Enough loss. Enough death. Enough goodbyes. ENOUGH! Enough souls being removed from this Earth before ever fully gifting their talent. Enough of the Russian Roulette. Enough of the denial. Enough of the “it won’t be me.” This time it was. Enough of the silence. Enough of the pretending it isn’t my responsibility. Enough of the stigmas. ENOUGH! Damn it, ENOUGH!
Why couldn’t he be one of the lucky ones? Why couldn’t he have gotten a second chance? Why couldn’t someone have been there for him, like it was for me? Why…? Why…? Why…? No answers. Only pain. No answers. Only sorrow. No answers. Just “if only’s.” If only I had… If only he had… If only someone had… If only it had… If only we had…
Family, friends, co-workers, bosses, teachers, classmates, administrators, medical professionals, social workers, friends of friends, family of friends, strangers, everyone, anyone, someone, but never no one…all thinking the same thoughts, asking the same unanswerable questions, positing the same if only’s… Such a wide net tragedy’s pain casts with its ripples.
What words do I have to console them as we cry together? I can only muster, “I am so sorry that you are going through this.” I whisper, “There are no answers to your questions.” I choke as I say, “I know how painful this is for you” “My heart aches for you.” “I would take this pain from you if I could” All else I think of to say just doesn’t seem appropriate for the time. Maybe later. Weeks later. Months later. Maybe never.
So I remain silent, listening to them cry while wiping away my tears, and then softly saying, “Lean on your friends, you all need each other.” “Lean on those in the rooms; many have been through this at least once already.” “Lean on your family; we have been through this before.” “I am here for you.” “You are on my heart.” “I am thinking of you.” “I love you.” Whispering as we hug, “This madness needs to stop.”
Second chances were there. Second chances different than yours, but they were there. Second chances. Third chances. Many chances; just ignored. In there lies the pain, the tragedy. An invitation to grab your hand and come aboard….rejected. And so it is with invitations, opportunities, chances, gifts. We can extend them but it is not our place to force their acceptance onto others. Just as we are free to choose when to give, we are also free to choose when to receive.
Free will is a blessing as much as it is a curse. A life lesson you are so young to have to learn. A life lesson you are now so much stronger for having experienced so soon. The “Why’s” and “If only’s” will fade in time as you work through the storm of pain and emotions. In your own time, the clouds will clear; you will see the rainbow, remember the joy, and feel only the love you know as EC; your triplet, your brother, your friend.