Friday, September 16, 2011

If I die young...

I have this thing about crying in front of other humans.  I don't do it.  I didn't even cry at my own mother's funeral.  Of course, I sobbed like a baby in the bathroom when no one was looking, and still break down randomly when I'm alone in the car, but cry in public? Never.  I am one pale-faced, PMS-ing pillar of strength, my friend.  They have yet to make a sad-puppy-animal-shelter commercial that could penetrate this steely fortress clad in capri pants...but this week it almost happened.  This week a teenager died, and my throat is nearly exploding as it holds back the sorrow I feel over this absolute tragedy.

I'm going to be brutally honest here.  Whenever a parent hears of an accident involving a child, the first instinct is to account for your own, and then send up a silent prayer that your kids are safe.  It can't happen to you.  You won't even entertain that idea because it's the kind of thought that makes you feel nauseous and weak.  It happens to other families, and you pray for them, send them a covered dish of fried chicken, and offer to be there if they need you, and your life goes on.  You'll whisper at the grocery store to your neighbor about how awful you feel for the family when, inside, you're actually screaming, "Dear God, please don't ever let this happen to me!"

I didn't know the handsome young man who died this week, but I know his friends.  I know the parents of his friends.  I know that a tight-knit community was just sucker punched and isn't going to be steady on its feet for a while.  A group of bright, athletic kids who probably felt invincible and safe just got schooled in one of life's toughest lessons: death is real and permanent, and my heart is breaking for each and every one of them tonight.

I left my office this afternoon for home, and as my route took me past the church where the funeral was about to commence, I slowed for traffic, this sleepy little town now mobbed with family and friends making their way to remember a boy who should have been planning his Friday night date and not being laid to rest.  My lip quivered, tears fell, and the scary realization hit me that we can't protect our children forever.  I thought back to this morning as I was primping in front of the mirror, preparing to head off to work.  A silly pop song (that I hate) came on the radio, and my daughter raced into the bathroom where I was standing to belt it out with more enthusiasm than should be allowed at 6:25am.  She sang...

"If I die young, bury me in satin
Lay me down on a bed of roses
Sink me in the river at dawn
Send me away with the words of a love song

Lord make me a rainbow, I'll shine down on my mother
She'll know I'm safe with you when she stands under my colors, oh and
Life ain't always what you think it ought to be, no
Ain't even grey, but she buries her baby"

Knowing how I feel about this horribly depressing little ditty, my daughter turned to me and asked, "Mommy, why do you hate it so much when I sing this song?"  I told her she would have to wait until she had a little girl of her own before she would understand...

2 comments:

  1. I am usually quite stoic in public myself so I appreciate your words. I've cried more in recent months and have learned to enjoy the tears if that makes any sense at all. I'll hug my kids extra tonight.

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  2. I loathe that song.

    I do my best to remain stoic, but lately, I can't seem to stop the tears - no matter where I am.

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