A few months ago someone I had some virtual contact with, mostly in years back, let her Facebook friends know she had just suffered a calamitous loss. On what should have been a joyous father-son bonding trip, half her family was wiped out. Her husband and older son died while hiking, likely from heatstroke.
In one cruel swoop she was a widow, and the mother of one surviving son.
This horrific event was on the news, local and national. I read the reports over and over, as if re-reading would tell a different story, maybe with a happier ending. I woke up the next day with that feeling most would recognize. It’s that did this really happen thought, and a feeling of reality descending but not quite hitting the ground.
This did not happen to me. I could go on with my day and the days to come with my routine intact. But it did shake me up. The opening words of Joan Didion’s Year of magical Thinking kept echoing—
Life changes in an instant.
It’s still a wake-up call for me. I tell my kitties I’m so happy they’re here. I look at people and places with gratitude. Nothing is permanent and most things are not for later, they are now.