Monday, November 10, 2008

When Tragedy Strikes, the World Keeps Turning

It's so strange to think about how one family suffers tragedy too big to comprehend, and everyone else keeps moving. Their life has stopped, come to a complete standstill, while the rest of the world goes on with their daily business. And you think, How can you all keep moving?! Can't you see this family suffering?

I think about far away events like the collapse of the school in Haiti. All those families who have lost children. Some families lost more than one child, and nieces and nephews, and family friends, and.... Yet the world keeps turning.

Or tragedies closer to home like my sister's friend who was murdered a few nights ago. He knew there was trouble around. He knew someone had targeted his brother and brother's girlfriend. The police knew someone had targeted the couple, and were keeping in contact with them. But I don't think anyone knew it would be my sister's friend who would end up dying. All he did was open a door, and walk into the house first. The killer sat and waited for them. Did he look to see who he was shooting, or did he just shoot? He had no value for human life, having already taken it a week before on a killing spree across southern Wisconsin.

Yet the world keeps spinning. My life keeps moving. I still look forward to my husband's calls, letting me know my life is still the same. My small part in all of this is only to check in on my sister. She had just been with her friend a few days before he died. She took him out to dinner for his birthday. She looked forward to their re-kindled friendship. She spent hours on the phone talking about old days and future days. "What do you want to do next weekend?"

When my sister-in-law Tabitha died 4 years ago, I was an outsider watching a family in pain. I didn't get to be included. She wasn't my family. I didn't heal well because I didn't feel I was allowed to grieve. So my life kept moving. I got pregnant with Hunter around that time. I looked forward to the new life God gave me, and buried my grief. It wasn't mine to have. Since then I've allowed myself to feel that pain and acknowledge that I lost someone, too. I lost an old friend that I could have had a future with, even if our past was clouded with jealousy and anger. Instead of past memories, I lost future ones. And although I'm still amazed at how quickly her husband moved on, no one else in the family has moved on. It's as if they are waiting for Tabitha to come back and pick up where she left off. Halloween night, trick or treating with her daughter, she'll be back.

I think my sister's friends will be waiting for their son and brother to come back for a long time, too. When you are with them and smiling and laughing one second, and they are gone in the next, your world doesn't get to keep moving. Your world stops.

**Craig Finley, died November 6, 2008. For full story, read HERE.

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