Bad News Cannot Be Broken Gently

I found out today that a friend of mine has lost her husband in a freak accident on the weekend. He fell off a cliff in a nature reserve near Cape Town. Within seconds, a young healthy man, father of three and loving husband was reduced to a tragic statistic.

Was it only last week Sunday when I met the whole family by chance at the mall? We talked briefly and my friend told me that she was traveling with the kids to visit her family in Italy on Tuesday. Now they are all on their way back to say last goodbyes. I am guilty of anger, of thinking why him? Why, when there are so many deadbeat fathers,  good-for-nothing boyfriends and abusive husbands? The short answer- there are no reasons. Those with strong faith may console themselves with saying that the Lord chooses the good people early, and perhaps this is a comforting thought. But death has no discriminatory taste; it takes the young and the old, the good and the bad, the rich and the poor, the ugly and the beautiful. It is nature’s cruel way of reminding us that we are all equal, that health, happiness and the presence of our loved ones are never to be taken for granted.

If I live long enough to see my next birthday, I will be grateful that I am living to see 40, like I am grateful to have seen 39, some people aren’t so lucky. If  I do not live long enough to see my child at high school, then I should feel fortunate to have witnessed his first word, his first step and received his first hug. I am not immortal, nobody is, and fearfully I also acknowledge the mortality of my own child. I can only hope that he will outlive me. In the meantime I want to lie down to sleep next to him, and breathe his warmth and feel grateful that we are both alive.

But before that I will light a candle tonight, for a friend who is traveling through the darkness of night and the darkness of grief, to face a  reality straight out of a worst nightmare. I am praying that a mother will find strength and courage to carry her children safely through it. I am praying that she will find comfort in their love as they will in hers. I am praying that one day they will all smile at the memory of a husband and a father, rather than cry at his loss.

I do not know what to say… Life is so cruel sometimes.

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