Over the last two years, we have had to deal with death a lot at Chez Boss Lady. HH lost both his mom and his step dad in the span of 14 months. With his mom, she fell away in an undiagnosed disease that that stole her mind, her personality and ultimately, her life. With his step-dad, a 6 year on-and-off battle with tongue cancer took a quick turn for the worse. He passed last week. For a while, we were worried that if things did not take a turn for the better, we might even lose his dad. (Thank goodness, he is healthy now.)
For HH, these last few years have been trying in ways that I cannot explain to my friends, my parents or even my therapist. He has had to watch some of the people he most loves suffer and wither. It sucks. It sucks that he is hurting and that I can do nothing to make it hurt less.
I get that death is part of life. But in his case, it sucks more because it has gotten in the way of his getting his life arranged the way he’d like it be. Every time he feels like things are looking up, there is another event that pulls the wind out of his sails.
Never the less, at least in these cases, we could see what was coming before it came. We could prepare ourselves. We could say what we needed to say to those loved ones. We could hug each other and be there. And we have friends who are in the same boat. Many of us are in that sandwich generation, caught between our kids and our parents, hoping that everyone stays healthy for a long, long time.
Maybe that “knowing ahead of time” explains why I am having such a hard time coming to terms with what happened yesterday in Jacksonville.
A very unstable person walked into the office of a local high school and killed the chief administrator of the school, a 34 year veteran teacher who was loved and respected by the students, teachers and community. The 29 year old shooter then took his life.
His apparent reason? He was fired that morning.
For the 4th time today, I am in tears thinking about this woman and the end of her life.
I am baffled as to why someone would think that their only recourse for bad news is murder.
I think about the victim. Did she have any thoughts about why he came back as he walked into her office?
Did she have time to pray?
Did she have time to say something to him? Time to plead for her life?
And then…did she wish she’d done something different?
For her family, was the last thing they said to her that morning a nice thing? Was it about picking up the dry-cleaning or what to defrost for dinner that night?
Or was it (hopefully) I love you and I cannot wait to see you tonight when I get home?
I get blue now and again. Everyone does, right? But I have lots of things to be happy about – my husband and parents are healthy, so are my kids. Despite several financial setbacks in recent years, we are still afloat, living in a nice house in a great neighborhood where our boys can play in the yard without (much) fear or worry on my part. I have a job I love, a hobby that is exciting, several world class friends who make me smile and most important, four great boys/men who I count as blessings even under the most stressful circumstances.
But this senseless violent act makes me realize that I may not make it home tonight. And if I didn’t, do my kids know that I love them? Does HH know how proud am I of him?
Her family hopefully does. And hopefully, in the moment before she was killed, she knew that they loved her too.
It still makes me sad.