Tuesday, October 21, 2008
It matters not~
Some days I don't make time to read the paper; others I go from front-page headlines, to Op Eds to obits. The obits I scan, mostly to see the age of death and maybe the cause. Some days are "good" days. The good died old. Other days . . . not so good.
Today there was the story of a 17-year old girl whose last hours were spent in a swamp . . . I can read dry-eyed the stories of the men and women who die in their 90s with accolades and acknowledgements. But a child's death brings a pain sharp and cold to my heart.
It matters not that underage drinking likely played a part. Who, reading this, can say they have not, by the grace of God, or the luck of the draw, or fate, escaped the consequences of a foolish act?
But this girl paid the consequence of partying with friends, drinking, and then saying good-bye . . . but wandering into a swamp instead of her car.
"This is why you have to know where your kids are at all times," my husband says as I read the story to him, my voice breaking with emotion.
I know he wants to think that parental control is enough, that our kids are safe because he "knows" where they are. That he can keep them safe. He sounds tough because it hurts to think there are things he can't control.
"Her parents thought they knew where she was," I say softly.
Once I woke just before midnight at the sound of a crash. Against my husband's advice, I pulled on my bathrobe and walked out into a surreal world of flashing lights that made midnight brighter than noon. And in the strobe effect I saw two young boys-- 16- year olds-- lying lifeless on my neighbor's lawn. Yes, they'd been drinking and rushing to be home before their curfew when they hit another car.
My comment the next day when the local news station came with their camera and mics looking for a comment was, "It wasn't an accident. It was a consequence."
It was a consequence, but there was no comfort in the words I uttered years ago when my own slept in cribs . . . and I knew where they were. No understanding that it matters not why loved ones die, or even their age. The pain is the same.
While we are free to choose our actions, we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions. ~Stephen R. Covey