Thursday, October 6, 2016

Different days

She wasn't my BFF.
She wasn't the first person I would have called in the face of a personal tragedy.

But she was a colleague at the hospital;
someone I worked with for over 30 years,
the last decade or so in the trenches of the ER 
where bonds and loyalties are tight;
forged from working side by side 
caring for children and their families 
in the worst situations imaginable.

I came to depend on her quiet good judgment, 
her seasonal cooking and baking skills 
(which she shared freely with her 'ER Family'), 
her sense of humor 
and her ability to see goodness in everyone
even when evidence to the contrary 
was staring us right in the face.

Decades ago, 
we were pregnant with our second children at the same time. 
We both had sons.

Over the years, 
we exchanged frequent updates on their progress 
as they grew into men we were proud of.

We experienced 'empty nest' together,
laughed when she became a grandmother so far ahead of me.
and she consoled me when I thought that was one experience 
which might never be mine.

She responded recently after a post in Facebook about the baby shower,
saying how much I was going to LOVE being a grandma.
and how much she was looking forward to hearing all about it.
Her children and her grandchildren were her world.

This morning,
I went to work 
knowing my son and his wife were headed to the doctor for an ultrasound;
thrilled that, by late afternoon,
they would have more images of the face
and perhaps a smile,
of the son they are so eager to welcome.

She was getting ready for work 
when she was notified that her son,
a local police officer,
was shot and killed
while responding to a domestic disturbance.
 He was at the end of a shift.
It was a 'safe' neighborhood.
 There was every reason to believe he'd be going home 
to his wife and their 2yr old son
when work was over.
But he didn't.

And the reality of it breaks my heart -
and infuriates me 
all at the same time.

Instead of blathering on about walls, 
and marital peccadilloes,
why are we not demanding that the candidates for President
address issues of 
gun control,
mental illness,
domestic violence,
substance abuse,
a broken judicial system,
for-profit prisons  ...

the list of problems facing us is overwhelming -
and instead,
we're given soundbites and snarky one liners.

I'm disgusted, angry
and sad beyond words.

After so many days
shared in 'ordinary', unremarkable  moments,
our lives couldn't be more different.

They'll never be the same again
and that makes my heart ache.

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