Written by: Jenny
No one is immune.
It can strike any one. Any family. Any time.
I'm not so sure I fully understood that until it struck my family a few years ago. My brother-in-law was killed in a car crash. All six of my nieces and nephews were in the vehicle at the time. They survived. Their daddy lost his life. My sister lost her husband.
So, I don't know if that's why when I hear of other families going through things, I feel their pain so intensely? I have self-diagnosed myself as an 'empath' -- feeling the emotions of others and taking them on as my own.
I remember the call. Driving in the snow. Headed to an event. 'Pull over', the voice on the other end of the line told me. 'There's been a horrible accident. Kevin's dead. Some of the kids were badly hurt.'
I was half-way across the country.
I couldn't breathe.
I couldn't think.
Just get me there. Just get me there now.
Frustration. Confusion. Heartbreak. Fear.
The precious little boy who lost his life at Schlitterbahn over the weekend. I can't stop thinking about him. His family. Those who witnessed the horrific event. The employees at the park. The two women who were in the raft with him. I feel such deep, deep sympathy, actual physical sorrow for them. For what they're going through. For the loss that his family and friends have endured.
Different circumstances. A different loss. But, a tragedy. I understand on some level.
Some level. I did not lose a child. I do not know how a parent ever opens their eyes again. How they are able to put one foot in front of the other. How they go on.
I want to live in a bubble.
I want to bottle my children up.
I think about another child who lost his life at Disney a few weeks back... the alligator... the unimaginable situation that occurred. I am certain Caleb's parents heard about that and shuddered as I did, unable to truly imagine the pain. The overwhelming, beyond intense grief.
Now, they know. Who would have predicted?
No one is immune.
'Every day is a gift'. We hear that all of the time. But, after experiencing tragedy, grief, seeing and feeling first hand how incredibly short life is and how anything can happen on any given day, I really 'get' that. I am incredibly aware of it. All of the time.
I can with all honesty say that I am so ultra-aware of the brevity of this life, that I don't waste too much time. I tell my family and friends how much I love them a thousand times a day. I don't hold grudges. I take in the scent of my kid's freshly washed hair and hold them so close to me as often as they'll allow because I know that anything can happen to them, to me, to any of us - at any given moment.
My heart is with Caleb's family. I don't know them personally, but I know I'm not the only one who is walking with them in spirit right now.
Praying for their broken hearts.
May they find peace and strength to navigate their way through this unspeakable tragedy.