Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My Heart is Heavy

At just after 7:00 AM this morning, a former colleague of mine was killed while walking the few blocks from the train to his office building for work. He was hit by a dump truck and died at the scene of the accident. He was 47 years old. His wife and daughter are left behind with a loss as big as the universe and everything beyond it that we don't even know yet. He had the green light that means it's okay to cross. The driver of the dump truck had a green light as well but, for whatever reason, this driver didn't yield the right-of-way to the gentleman, the pedestrian, who just happened to be crossing the street. I've thought of little else all day.

I hope:
~ that he and his family had a pleasant morning. I try to imagine it. It was so early and his daughter is a teenager. Was she still sleeping? Did she even get to say goodbye or give him a kiss? Did they argue over something silly as teens often do? Did his wife get to kiss him goodbye? Did he maybe tell her that he loved her before he left for work? I hope so many things for their last morning together. So many things. So many things.
~ that they had a recent beautiful vacation together. Something that the wife and daughter can remember and be thankful for in their last month or so together.
~ that his death was quick and painless. That maybe the truck hit him from behind and he didn't know what was coming. Dear God, I just hope that he didn't suffer.
~ that his wife had good people around when she got the news. Folks who could say the right things and support her in her time of most desperate need. Hold her up. Take her home. Hear her cries. Her pleas. Her screams.
~ that she was able to give the news to her daughter.
~ that all my former colleagues somehow survived the day being in the office. I can't imagine how awful it must have been. How sad. And I hope they were all able to comfort one another as much as possible.
~ that those awful people who made inappropriate comments on the local paper's website.....well, I don't know what I hope for them....but it isn't good. Thank goodness the Charlotte paper has enough sense to shut down the comments and remove them from the site....and I hope it was before anyone in his family had a chance to read them.
~ more than anything, I hope that he died a happy man. I hope he had peace in his heart. I hope his last thoughts were pleasant ones. And I hope that he has moved on to a better place.

I don't like being reminded of life's fragility. At the same time, I am thankful for the opportunity to hold my family a little tighter today. Thankful to have the chance to tell those closest to me how much I love them and what they mean to me.

I also feel angry. I get tired of hearing these tragic stories of bikers and pedestrians who lose their lives to moving vehicles. This is the second time it's happened to someone I know. It happens all too often in Charlotte. It's just a sad state of affairs. How many people have to be lost before someone makes a change that really makes a difference? I've lobbied my city councilman in the past (to no avail) and I'm working on a letter now. It's the least I can do to honor the precious life that was lost today.

I will be thinking of his wife and daughter for a long time to come. They are strangers to me. But I hope for so many things for them. If I could bottle up a little bit of my own strength and give it to them, I would. I hope they can somehow find peace and a way to heal from this devastating loss.

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