The last twenty-four hours have reminded me of how fragile life is. Two people lost their spouses, one in Willamsport, Pennsylvania, the other in Sacramento, California. In each instance, the death was totally unexpected making their loss immeasurably tragic and hard to understand. No one has words sufficient for comfort or resolution. The burden of grief has no time limit and the loss is eternal. For me it is that reminder, repeated often, that the present is all that matters. Say "I love you" today to any and all I care about. Tomorrow may not come.
I understand more keenly as I get older how my mother felt when my father died on the operating table during surgery for kidney stones in August 1984. She never got the chance to say good-bye. Sixteen months later she was no longer able to stay in the house they had lived in since 1948 and as she finished packing for a move to a senior citizen home I photographed her final moments in their small north Denver house. They were married 55 years. She lived another twelve years and was buried beside my dad, reunited, as she hoped.
I wrangle, cajole, tease, laugh and cry with Diane. We are more entwined every day and do try to say the important things to each other. Words are wonderful, doing loving things are better. In the end it's both that matter and I have to believe both spouses had that.
What will you and I do to take love, caring, respect, compassion a little deeper? There may be an opportunity tomorrow but how may tomorrows are there?