On those days when I need to get my son to preschool, I leave work around 11:30am so that I can get him there on time. Yesterday was a preschool day, and as I was driving along the radio traffic report tole me that there had been an accident on a major roadway near my route. I could tell as I approached the underpass to this roadway that traffic was barely moving. I said a silent prayer that traffic along the road I was on was moving okay and didn't think much about it for the rest of the day.
This afternoon I discovered that a 15-year-old boy was killed in that accident. While I didn't know him, I know his Mom. She's an absolutely lovely person who cared deeply about her family and the world they were growing up in.
It reminded me once again of how we really do take our time for granted. After something bad or tragic happens, we spend hours dissecting those moments before everything changed. Did we know? Could we tell? Were our last words to someone kind or mean? And perhaps the most common question: Why?
As a general rule, we spend much less time making the moments before a tragedy occurs really count. As a former estate lawyer, I saw firsthand the number of people who believed that their death or incapacity was not going to happen anytime soon. People do not rush to get their wills done unless they're actually dying; everyone else takes their sweet time, if they manage to get around to it at all.
For this I am grateful: The opportunity to kiss my children good night, to scold them when they've done something wrong, to let them know that even if they think that I'm the meanest Mommy in the world I still love them.
I have no illusions about understanding what this family is going through right now; I can't pretend to have any idea. But I also know that when this Mom and I and millions of other people woke up yesterday morning, we had about an equal chance of having something bad (or good!) happen to us. There's probably an actuary out there who could throw out some specific numbers, but none of us hold the hands of fate.The best we can do now is to hold each others' hands and hang on until we make it through.
For this I am grateful: To be certain that no matter what joy or sadness may come my family's way we will have people standing beside us, sharing it with us as best they can.
I don't know that I can really ask for anything more.
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