Two things today emphasized the fragility of our Present.
The colleague with brain cancer passed away this morning. A year and a half ago she was vibrant, had a job she enjoyed, wrote beautiful short stories, had a boyfriend she cared about and was someone with whom I always enjoyed interacting. Then, it seems in one moment it all changed. Her “vertigo” was finally diagnosed as brain cancer and slowly she descended into a life from which she was probably grateful to depart. I will always remember her intelligence, quick wit, caring and passion. I sit here unable to process that she is gone. It happened in half a second.
Later, in a meeting with an associate from another state who had come to us for restructuring support and ideas, she explained how the last five years of her life had been all about loss (her mother, her son and others). But the strangest loss of all was the head injury that has rendered her husband virtually dysfunctional. He was merely on a step stool adjusting the clocks to daylight savings time when he fell and hit his head and…that was all it took.
I will end this with Emily’s monologue from Our Town by Thornton Wilder. I often quote snippets of it, but tonight, I hope you will read it all the way through. She gets to come back for one last goodbye from the grave. And this is what she sees and says:
Emily: Oh, Mama, look at me one minute as though you really saw me. Mama, fourteen years have gone by. I’m dead. You’re a grandmother, Mama! Wally’s dead, too. His appendix burst on a camping trip to North Conway. We felt just terrible about it – don’t you remember? But, just for a moment now we’re all together. Mama, just for a moment we’re happy. Let’s really look at one another!…I can’t. I can’t go on. It goes so fast. We don’t have time to look at one another. I didn’t realize. So all that was going on and we never noticed. Take me back — up the hill — to my grave. But first: Wait! One more look. Good-bye , Good-bye world. Good-bye, Grover’s Corners….Mama and Papa. Good-bye to clocks ticking….and Mama’s sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new ironed dresses and hot baths….and sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth, you are too wonderful for anybody to realize you. Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it–every, every minute? Stage Manager: No. (pause) The saints and poets, maybe they do some. Emily: I’m ready to go back.
**My prayer for all of us is that while we are still enjoying our wonderful lives on this wonderful earth that we realize life while we live it–every, every minute. It can indeed change in half a second.** In love and humility, I share this…