How can this happen?


It began well enough. A blue sky day, windy and great for sailing. The original plan being cancelled for a new one, yet everything working out, somehow. Off we go in a flurry with a cooler full of sandwiches and salad and ice cold beer. We watch excitedly as they lift and launch our old sailboat into the rough, churning waters of Puget Sound. She looks good, all freshened up with a new coat of paint.

The main sail is caught, stuck, won’t go all the way up. There it is, the culprit; some twine tangled around the lines and the cross bars. Nothing works. There’s nothing left to try. The waves are huge and my stomach is churning because we lack direction, thrashing around as we plead for the sail to go up, jerking and pulling, then finally giving up.

Down comes the main. Down comes the jib. We are relieved the motor has just been  serviced and there is plenty of fuel. We sigh. It’s a beautiful day on the water wheather we are sailing or motoring, it doesn’t matter. We sit back and relax and putt-putt our way home. The food is good and a cold beer helps relieve the stress from our fruitless frantic efforts. Life is good, right?

Yet, it was a strange morning, kind of out of sinc and discombobulated. Like the universe got all out of whack and every thing else followed. But still, it was a good day, right?

Our house is in sight now, but we don’t want to get off the boat, we are so relaxed and having fun. But the puppies are on the deck barking at us and we know they want some attention and a walk so we decide to get moving. We hook our buoy and secure the boat then pile everything, including ourselves, into the little crab boat and row to shore. We’re tired. Something is wrong, yet everything appears to be just right.

The cell phone rings in my husbands pocket. He see’s it’s our neighbor and friend.

“My son died last night,” our neighbor says and disconnects.

“What? What?” My husband’s face has gone pale and he is yelling into the phone. He tells me what’s been said and neither one of us can process these words. We scramble for shore and haphazardly secure the little boat, running and stumbling with our stuff to the house. “I’m sorry,” we holler to the dogs as we fly in and fly out. “You’ll have to wait.”

We drive down the road to our friends home while I badger my husband, “What do we do? How do we handle such a thing? How could this happen?” I am terrified of facing such a powerful reality, terrified of the agony I will witness and of the useless position I will be in.

He’s been his mothers baby boy, his fathers cherished son. He was their infant once, not so long ago, their toddler, their kindergarten star. He learned to ride a bike and drive a car and grew as tall as his father. How can this happen? How can this be true? There’s still so much…

Yet, my mind and my heart have merged. I see this lovely young man in the company of angels, in the welcoming arms of family and friends who have gone before him. I see the peace within him and the light in his eyes and the smile on his face and know that he will be more loved and cherished in this new place he now calls home, then ever dreamed of before.

With love and compassion to the family and friends who’s hearts have been broken.

Mary Ann

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