Woke up yesterday at 5 am. A bit later than normal. I’m usually up by 4 or 4:30 am. I absolutely LOVE the quiet time before the hustle of the day begins. Made my way to the kitchen to start that first cup of coffee. Just like many mornings before. Warm, quiet, comfortable.
I sat in the quiet a few minutes and then turned on the morning news. This day had changed for me before my feet hit the ground. As I was waking from the safety of my warm bed, a young man lay dying trapped in a mangled car 528 feet east of my front door. I heard absolutely nothing. No squealing tires, no crash, no sirens, no noise.
The first punch was guilt. Why didn’t I hear it? Why didn’t we wake up? We could have called for help sooner. Next, the gut punch of overwhelming sadness. It is sadness I would fight. I would think of the parents, family, and friends who had to receive this horrible, heartbreaking news by an official visit or phone call. I would fight memories as well. Memories of getting a phone call of my own twenty-two years ago.
I would try to add a little joy to this bitter cup by tiptoeing down the stairs and peeking in on my sleeping son. Oh, my dark night ended so much better. I was filled with gratitude. As I made my way back upstairs, I was hit with a sucker punch from guilt again. Why did my boy live and hers did not?
Empathy demanded I weep for this mother. This mother who will not know another night of sweet sleep for a long time to come. I decided to let sadness have its way with me yesterday. I remembered it’s necessary. It is necessary so I always remember how blessed I truly am.