All Souls' Day. I had planned to go the Cathedral tonight to hear the Gonzaga Choir sing Requiem Mass. I had planned to write about my Aunt Winnifred, Winnifred Ames RN, and how she inspired me. I had planned to say a rosary in honor of Anthony. I had planned to reserve this day to think about people who were genuinely special to me and to do only really special, indulgent things like treat myself to Mass in the middle of the week.
I read this morning that 5 children were killed on Highway 395, riding with their father to meet their mother. The other motorist involved crossed the center line, collided with the pick up full of family, and killed all the children, causing the father to be air lifted to Sacred Heart where he is in critical condition. Alcohol was not a factor. And so I start the day instead, in tears and grief for those poor parents, facing a new life without their lifeblood.
I cry for them, for me, for my Aunt Winnifred, for Mike and Brandi, for all the people who step up daily to help people and families battle against the Great Separation of Death. Brandi, who facilitates lung transplants, primarily for victims of Cystic Fibrosis. Mike, who facilites the in-home care of lung transplant patients, most of whom are pediatric. Aunt Winnifred, a career Red Cross nurse, when women did not work outside the home even though they were educated. For this darling family, just living an ordinary day, only to have it be the abrupt ending to a beautifully framed beginning. I cry for all the unfinished songs, half-eaten cakes, half-formed wishes, interrupted ambitions, and thwarted attempts. I cry for the mothers and fathers whose memories torture and comfort them at the same time. I cry from pain, from joy, of living and loving and staying open to all the possibilites. I cry in thanksgiving and in shame--for my own exquisitely beautiful family, knowing fully that I am inadequate and not worthy.
And try as I might, I can't make any more sense of it than that. I can't understand why all five of the children of hard-working, loving parents can't stay for a little longer. I can't understand the logic of children suffering from hideous medical malfunctions. I can't begin to understand the bravery of the relief workers worldwide, who truly make a difference, when the rest of us just talk about it. Is this the sorrowful mystery of life? The agony, the ectasy? The pain, the joy? The hope, the sorrow? The full range of motion that Anthony pursues day after day? This is it?
So I offer a prayer, the only thing that someone like me can bring; hoping that tomorrow will be warm again and soon, not too soon, we will all be together again.
"The challenge for people of faith is to be fully present in the moment and not despair." --The Reverend Bishop William Skylstad, D.D.
The 'Kan EWA