Yesterday morning I walked to work by myself, and it was stunning. Everything was dark and shiny with sun and recent rain. I watched raindrops all lit up by the sunlight like diamonds or something fall from trees. I saw sunrays streaking through a slight mistiness in the air. I wanted to take pictures at every step, but I was late, and my camera was packed under a bunch of other gear.
I cried a good part of the way, from the beauty, and exhaustion, and this week’s reminders that life is just way too short to take anything for granted. I feel weird that things that really have nothing to do with me – or at least that affect other people far more profoundly than I could presume to imagine – would affect me so deeply (and I’m not talking about swine flu). I found out on Wednesday that a local flickrite – one of my first contacts on flickr I’m sure – died on Monday. I only found out on Saturday that he was sick, and it really upset me.
The thing is, I never actually met him. I kept thinking that our paths would just cross naturally. I thought it was just a matter of time. We both have young families, we live within several blocks of one another, we have overlapping interests. Indeed, my husband met him once or twice in job interviews. Surely one Saturday we’d see one another with our families and cameras in the park or something. But it never happened.
I keep thinking about the word hospice, how the report I saw said a crew of loved ones were making his living room into a hospice. I keep thinking about how it must feel to know you are dying when your kids are still so young, or how it must feel to know your partner and the father of your kids is dying. But it’s truly unimaginable. I wondered how to reach out to them now, or if that would even be appropriate. Could I leave a lasagne on their stoop? Or send a flickr message to him? Would he even be online? Probably not… A message to his wife? To say what? I thought I had at least a week to figure something out, but on Wednesday I was forwarded a message from one of my work friends. He had already passed on.
Sometimes procrastination doesn’t pay.
I wasn’t sure whether to blog about this. It seems presumptuous to feel so sad about someone I didn’t really know, like an insult to his friends and family. But he did touch my life in a small virtual way, and I am thinking about him and his family a lot, and maybe that’s not an insult at all.