This morning when my daughter called, I knew right away that something was not right. Her voice sounded leaden and strangely detached.
“You sound odd. Did you just wake up?”
“I have some terrible news . . .”
My mind went to reeling because I knew then that someone had died. I knew it couldn’t be my granddaughter, because had it been, my daughter would have been hysterical. My heart skipped a beat when I thought something may have happened to my son-in-law; but then I realized no; she’s too calm for that, too.
One of their closest family friends, mother of five, was dead. Killed in a car accident. A family member had been driving, and had walked away from the wreck.
Six children, the youngest not even a year old, and still breastfeeding. A warm, lively, homeschooling mom who loved her children and had one of the sharpest senses of humor I’ve encountered. I little over a year ago, I was at her baby shower and we were laughing about how her having given away all her baby stuff had brought on this fifth pregnancy. She was so happy to be carrying another baby. Now her baby won’t even remember his mother.
All day I’ve felt like lead myself. The family of the woman who died, and the one who killed her, so close for over 30 years; will their friendship survive this? One wonders. The driver was driving too fast, and they had all had drinks with dinner.
At supper tonight, my little girls fidget and want to talk about this lady whose children they’ve played with at Nanny’s house, my granddaughter’s other grandmother. “Why didn’t God save her, Mom?” they ask.
I look at them blankly. “I don’t know. I don’t know if God is involved in car wrecks. I don’t know what God is involved in at times like this. I don’t know. I wish I had an answer. I’ll think about it; but right now I really don’t know. All I know is that she loved God, and she taught her children to love God, and I hope they all are comforted by God right now.”
We watch the news; we see the twisted metal. A nearby resident who saw the aftermath says of the driver, “I hope he goes to prison for life. That’s what he deserves.”
Is that the propitiation for when mommies die?
We get out of bed in the morning, we brush our teeth, we make coffee or tea. We brush our hair. We absently brush the hair out of our kids’ eyes. “Brush your teeth!” we say, “Get dressed!” We pour cereal, we pour milk. We do what mothers do, what fathers do. Our children complain sometimes; they demand. They take us for granted; we take ourselves for granted too. We assume we’ll live all day today and all day tomorrow. We assume we’ll live for a long time and avoid major tragedies. When my husband leaves in the morning, I never think, “I won’t see him alive again. Later tonight, I’ll have to go identify his body.” We do not put our keys into the ignition and drive to work in the morning thinking to ourselves, “Tonight I’ll accidentally kill someone.
We never assume, “Today will be the last day of my life.”