Why do people die? Because.
Death is an equal opportunity slayer of the human spirit. Ageless, immune to the strongest plea and prayer, a taker of that which is most important to the human animal, with no regard to the value of the soul taken often unexpectedly.
A fifty year old man states "she changed my life, made me what I am" as he described his former life of drinking. Losing her two year battle, Cancer took her at age 48. The thirty something woman watched her mother succomb to illness and rob her of a bond only a mother and daughter can have. A 24 year old young man leaves work feeling ill and is found 2 1/2 days later in his partially submerged vehicle no longer ill, no longer living. The fiftyish woman whos sister lost her fourth battle with cancer. A grandmother hastens from her job in response to a phone call about a fire at her daughters home only to discover her 3 and 4 year old grandchildren dead.
Run of the mill stories found in the daily papers, on the evening news and quickly forgotten. After all, tragedy strikes everyday, someone suffers and perhaps a prayer is said for the departed and the living. Immune or apathetic, we proceed on reacting to the ups and downs of our own lives for there is little time to consider much beyond the little sphere is which we reside.
And then death strikes five people you know, you care about all in one months time. Oscar lost this best friend after 20 some years of marriage and struggles to find balance. Kim has yet to return to work, devasted by the loss of her mother. The young man left friends, worried about his disappearance then overwhelmed by his dying alone on a cold winters night. Joyce's survivor sister who could not outlast death. Lastly, Debbie may never return as her grandchild were her life.
The one I did not know, the 24 year old, was a topic of conversation for the better part of the day as friends expressed concern for his whereabouts. When news came about his car being found, there was great anxiety for his girlfriend who was about to learn of his death second hand through the office grapevine.
Over the past year, Oscar spoke of his wife's illness and humbly talked about her importance, her friendship, and described a marriage I have infrequently seen; one of true blending of lives.
Kims' mother had been ill but the sudden decline into the end stages was not something Kim was prepared to face. Too soon a loss for a daughter.
Joyce spoke of the strength and courage of her sister over the years winning the first three battles with cancer. By the fourth, courage was not enough.
Debbie had personalized license plates displaying her devotion to those grandbabies. The fire and their passing occured on Deb's birthday, one she will never be able to celebrate again. Nor I suspect will she celebrate anything again.
Death is certain. The wise man, the religious leader, the counselor all speak to accepting and dealing with grief and moving on with life as best one can.
But with each loss, of loved ones and those unknown, a piece of self dies. Five in one month, all connected to people I work with. Different circumstances, different relationships, same results.
There is no moral, no philosophic statement, no intellectual exercise, not even any questionning of why people die. The die because they die.
But I grieve and in a small way my soul is diminished.