The last of the broken hearts

I don't want to scare you but I've been thinking about premature death a lot.  I don't think it is as rare as you think it is.  What I mean is -  I think Ted and I often feel like freaks because we are "the ones that lost [our] baby" - but, I honestly don't think we will be the last ones we know who will lose a child.  I hope we are - but I just don't think so.  I've been thinking about all of the young people I've known who've died really young and wondering how it came to be that I know SO many young people who are not here any longer.  I think it is because young people die - much more often than we like to think.  I am sorry for writing about this, but it is what I have been thinking about.

Off the top of my head, I can think of three from my summer camp community.  Two died from cancer - one took his own life.  My camp is a pretty insular place - we all were like a big family.  Learning of these deaths felt like a punch in the face - completely unbelievable.
One friend from high school - gone in a car accident.  It happened just before graduation.  I don't think it ever really sunk in for many of us.  How could it be real?
The guy I dated immediately after my engagement broke off in 2000 - died in a plane crash in Aspen, about a month after we stopped dating.  He was on a private plane and everyone that I ever met through him died with him on that day - they were all going away together for the weekend to celebrate his 25th birthday.  There was nobody left to even bury him as his mother and brothers were on the plane too.  Too tragic to comprehend - impossible to wrap my brain around.
My funny and brilliant friend Judah - who was the inspiration for my Maxie's middle name - died at 39 - the very age I am now.  We all knew he had cancer but nobody thought he would die.  He'd gone through stem cell treatment that everyone thought would save his life.  It didn't.  How can it possibly be that he is gone too?
My hilarious curmudgeonly gay boyfriend and partner in crime, Michael, who took care of me and was my constant companion when my heart was so broken many years ago.  He went home to visit his parents and died in his sleep.  No indicators, no nothing.
Chelsea, the beautiful childhood friend of my cousin Lizzy - same story.  She was on a trip with her mom - I think to visit colleges - and died in her sleep.  Her mom woke up to find that she was beside her, gone already.  When I say this girl was beautiful - it doesn't do her any justice at all.  Ridiculous beauty and a lovely personality. 
My friend Amy lost her brother several years ago - he had just called home from the road to wish his father a Happy Birthday and then died in a car crash.  He was young and ambitious and full of life.
Recently, two guys I know from high school lost their brothers.  Sudden, unexpected losses. 
Should I keep going?
A college friend who died of a heroin overdose.  He'd battled with the drug over the years but had been clean for several years when he must have made a terrible terrible choice to give it one last go.
Two of my best friends - Jon and Lindsay have lost siblings.  Jon's sister Marissa and Lindsay's brother Darryl.  Both young and married with three children each.
My Costa Rican friend Elier - who was my Spanish teacher and first Costa Rican friend - died suddenly, also just a kid....maybe 23 years old.
I think I'll stop there but I could keep on.
All of these lives - gone.  All of these friends left behind parents, siblings, friends.  All of us will die someday - but we all expect to live long lives - and I am not sure why.  All evidence tells me that there is no reason we should expect anything at all.  I am not trying to be a downer - I am trying to be a realist.  The only moment you can count on is this one.

I'm sorry that the sad stories don't end with ours because what that means is that we won't be the last broken of the hearts.

We certainly aren't the first. 

1 comment

GrahamForeverInMyHeart said...

So true and yet so incomprehensible when death comes to the young and innocent.