Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Vagaries of Life

Buttermere Lake
Joseph Mallord William Turner
1798

Tomorrow is the anniversary of my husband's plane crash on a lake on Vancouver Island. It's odd how life can turn on a dime, and how in an instant, dozens -- perhaps hundreds -- of lives can be affected. Certainly for most people, nothing is ever quite the same again. My husband's parents never really recovered from the devastation, and it definitely had a negative impact on my daughter's life. I was very close to my father, and I cannot imagine growing up without a father, as my daughter did. Fortunately, my daughter's children are very close to their father, as well as to their mother, and that is important. Children need two parents, and nothing is ever quite right if they don't have them.

A couple of weeks ago there was another devastating plane crash off the coast of British Columbia. Eight people were on board, and only two survived. Two of the victims were a Vancouver doctor and her six-month old daughter. The doctor's husband and another daughter were not on board, and their lives have been irrevocably changed -- forever. A couple of days before the plane crash I had had the occasion in the course of a business day to write a letter to the doctor. Two days later, when I saw the news of the crash, I thought, "Omigoodness, she will never see the letter."

The vagaries of life...

I believe that, for the most part, life is filled with joy. Along with the bitter comes the sweet. One of the most incredible taste sensations is chocolate and salt. I think the average "set point" for most people is to be happy, or at least serene and content. We cannot prevent the capricious unpredictability of life, but we can learn to be happy again. So, whatever misfortune has befallen you along the way, I hope today you have happiness in your lives. You definitely deserve it.

40 comments:

Land of shimp said...

Jo, those of us that have had sudden deaths in our lives -- and there are so many of us -- can empathize with this post a great deal.

I can only say that must have been a truly terrible day, and a truly terrible time following it. I'm very sorry that it happened to you, your daughter, everyone who knew your husband.

We all know that safety and security are merely perceptions, and when someone dies traumatically it isn't just the loss of that person, it is that the world around us is forever altered. We no longer believe in safety and security as anything other than constructs.

Those poor people from the recent plane crash. Sudden death is like being horribly mugged for the survivors, something that comes out of nowhere, and decks them.

I wish them well, and I always wish you well. They will have to be what you have been, very, very strong in the wake of what has happened.

Jo said...

Alane, yes, I think that is perhaps why we don't have the benefit of foresight. It would be too much for us to deal with, wouldn't it? I couldn't help thinking how ironic it was that I had just written to that doctor, and *poof* she was gone in the blink of an eye. What sort of domino effect does it have, not only for her, but for the individual who was being discussed in the correspondence? It makes me realize how many lives we touch, and how much we are touched by other lives. It always amazes me.

Land of shimp said...

It really is amazing how closely we are all connected, and the ways we do not realize it until something rather dramatic happens.

"It would be too much for us to deal with, wouldn't it? "

I agree with this wholeheartedly. Thank goodness we can only deal with our present, and past, come what may in the future.

One of the things we don't fully understand yet is how time functions. There are theories that time is not linear, as we tend to think of it being. One of the theories is that all of time is happening at once.

Now there's a thought to make you need a nap of an Olympic caliber. It's an utterly exhausting thought.

I'm not trying to be flip, at all Jo. I know that what you went through must have been so challenging, and entirely devastating. At the time, I know you could not have had any idea how in the world you were going to get through.

You're a tough lady, and I mean that as the highest compliment. Again, I'm so sorry that was part of your life, and have gone through vaguely similar things...well, it is amazing, the true abilities of people, isn't it?

Oh that life would not so sorely test us, though. Particularly not where our hearts are so deeply involved.

Jo said...

Alane, "One of the theories is that all of time is happening at once." I have always believed that, yes! Could it be one explanation for deja vu?

Did you ever see a movie called "Somewhere in Time" with Jane Seymour and Christopher Reeve? Time travel has always intrigued me. H.G. Wells "Time Machine" is another book I loved reading. One of my munchkins believes that time expands and contracts along with the universe. So it repeats itself. Again, another explanation for deja vu.

And yes, I had to learn to be tough, but I am not hard. I know people where I work who are tough and hard, and it is not pleasant.

My mother used to have a wonderful saying, "Cut away the dead wood." Sometimes being tough means having to cut away the dead wood.

TheChicGeek said...

Jo, I will keep you in my prayers with good thoughts on the sad anniversary of your husband's tragic death. You've written about him before and I know what a wonderful and loving husband he was to you.

I love the painting on your banner now with the flowers...so pretty! Did you paint that one?

I need to stop by more often. I have been away from the blog living life and having adventures...all good! It is always a treat to come here and read your words :)

Wishing you a Happy and Love-Filled Day!
Hugs to You, Jo :)
Kelly

Leslie Avon Miller said...

I am sure your husband would hope for you to be serene and content. It is what I would wish for loved ones if I were to leave them behind.

Arley said...

Jo- I'm so sorry for the reminder of your husbands passing. Though time does heal, it also creeps up and reminds us of our past loss. Please don't let it get you down. Keep a smile on your face!!!

The Bug said...

Because it's Christmas I've been thinking about my mom a lot - this will be our 5th one without her. She was the hub of our family, and our extended family. No one knew what to do with her gone & truly the center could not hold - we're scattered now. This one person was the glue.

But as you say, there is still joy in life. Perhaps you have to look a little harder - and sometimes it just knocks you over unexpectedly (like Alane's post today about the burgler alarm - that was an unexpected belly laugh). The trick is to be ready to accept the joy. It's not a betrayal of the person who's gone.

DUTA said...

The human being is said to be the hardest metal in nature; it absorbs great blows and yet it survives.

Sorry you had to go through the tragedy of losing your husband; glad you survived.

Lamar said...

Earlier this year I sent out this video to illustrate how the current administration is masquerading as a leadership team different from the previous one. The video documents how the choice between Democrat and Republican is really no choice at all. Recent history has confirmed the message of this video. Here we are almost a year after Bush left office and we see that really only the rhetoric has changed. The same program of economic, military, and civil rights disintegration remains in full effect. The sequel to this video is now available to shed more light on this false choice of governance. This sequel exposes: 1) how mega banks like Goldman Sachs created this financial crisis to then introduce their solution: a government hand-out of trillions of dollars to them; 2) how this same scheme is being set up again on a global scale through the development of a cap-and-trade derivatives market; 3) how Obama is simply managing this economic disintegration program that was furthered by Bush (and his predecessors) going back as far as Carter; 4) how Obama's actions have been just as unconstitutional as Bush's and how our country is being pushed deeper into an oppressive surveillance society. The sooner we acknowledge this false choice of governance we are given, the better the chances are that we can produce a real choice that represents us, not the institutionalized power structure pillaging us. If you would like to learn more about the timely issues raised in these videos please visit this alternative news website, where these videos were produced.

Nicole said...

Tomorrow is a sad reminder of what you have lost. We in the blog world are happy to have you and enjoy reading your blog whether we agree or disagree with what you write. Would you be the same woman with a blog and 700+ followers if life and all its heartaches (and happiness)had not happen to you?
I guess what I am trying to say is that we enjoy you and all you bring into our lives each day.

Marguerite said...

Jo, I am so sorry for your loss. I didn't know about your husband. That must have been a very hard time for you and your children, and you are so right about the unpredictability
of life and about having to move on.
Loss is a part of life and that's why the Cajuns live life to the fullest each day, because we never know what tomorrow may bring.
Hugs, Marguerite

Mclndesm said...

Jo, I wish you Godspeed or all the time in the world to experience this anniversary. A quote I have always lived by is "the deeper the pain, the deeper the joy". It means life is not worth living without risk. I certainly can empathize with such a loss, but tomorrow it will be a loss you and your daughter will be remembering and experiencing and that is where we part.

Country Girl said...

Please know that I will be thinking of you tomorrow.

Nancy said...

You too, Jo. You certainly deserve it.

And I totally agree with shimp - safety and security are constructs and anyone who has been taken by surprise knows this.

Also the conversation about time is so relative to a book I am just finishing. I'll do a blog post about it.

Kathy's Klothesline said...

You will be in my thoughts tomorrow. Always seems a bit sadder when you lose a loved one so close to a holiday. I don't know why that is. It matters little to the ones closest to the situation what the date is, it will always be a day they will remember with sadness.

Charles Gramlich said...

My thoughts are with you on this sad occassion. As for chocolate and salt, my wife says they are the most incredible tastes together. I don't agree.

Paula Slade said...

Thank you Jo. My thoughts are with you as you mark this sad anniversary.

leilani said...

JO, There can be NO great joy without mindbending sorrow. 703 people who follow ur blog are allowed moments of laughter, tears and joy becaus of ur words. I would wish that you would of never of had to know great sadness, but the joy you bring to this planet is wonderful! He would of been extremely proud! 703 people following his wifes every word! =0)You deserve it Jo! YOU deserve it!

Owen said...

My heart goes out to you Jo, for strength on such an anniversary. I am sorry.

And odd, very odd, I jut read another lovely post today about the vagaries of life. A simply but beautifully moving piece which you can see here if you have a moment... :

http://morecanterburytales.blogspot.com/

And I will be giving her your address as well...

Peace Jo...

The Sagittarian said...

I wish you happiness in your life too, Jo. I am SURE you deserve it, loved the post...I'll be back!

Amy said...

Jo, I found your post very moving. 'Vagaries' reminded me of the numbness after a momentous loss. When I lost my mother at 14 (she was only 43 when diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor), my development was unalterably delayed. She died in November, so holidays were difficult for many years. But to lose a husband, that I cannot imagine. I don't like the saying, "bad things happen to good people" or "God's will..." but I do believe there is truth in "God only gives us what we can handle." You are, indeed, a strong lady.

Hope tomorrow will be ok for you.

Keke said...

God Bless you and your sharing so eloquent, so clear, I admire your openess to embrace life and to share it with others. I hope you have a blessed holiday season...
XO Keke

jojo said...

I hold you and yours in my heart at this difficult time of the year. Take care...

Firefly said...

A child should never grow up with the sadness of loosing a parent. On of the little gilrs in my sons class lost her dad the other day and I can't imagine the feeling that she must feel.

Barry said...

My family too, have known unexpected losses and the complexities of recovery and the bitter-sweet (chocolate and salt) feel of anniversaries. Especially so close to Christmas and in particular this year with your personal connection to the doctor who just lost her life so tragically.

My heart goes out to your family and yourself.

Kathryn said...

Jo - i'm behind on reading, but i still come! Saw this vid & thought you'd enjoy it. http://www.sncmusic.com/video/the-christmas-can-can-animated-version/

I'm sorry that you're feeling the emptiness of loss, that is always a hard struggle & rather strange as well.

Russell said...

I will join the dozens of others before me and say I know this must always be a difficult day.

We always remember how good the people in our lives were and how little time we had with them. But the memories last forever.

Remember the good times and never forget you were blessed to have time together. It may not have been long enough, but if you truly love someone, a life time is not enough time.

TomCat said...

And the same to you, Josie. The way you have come back from that devastation is an inspiration.

otin said...

I am sorry that you have to mark such a sad anniversary. I understand exactly what you are saying. Everyone seems to be at about the same happy level, with some exceptions, of course.

ρομπερτ said...

Allow me to bow in silence with respect of your being and writing.

Mia said...

Everything can change today. That's why we're supposed to cherish every moment with the people we have while we can. We usually don't. But we should.

Jennifer D said...

Jo, thank you for sharing.

Jo said...

Omigoodness, thank you, everyone for you wonderful comments.

Someone once said, "Live every day as if it's your last." That is not nearly as morbid as it sounds. No one ever knows what could happen to separate us from the people in our lives.

Cheers,
Jo

Mariana Soffer said...

Jo, I am so sorry to hear about your husband crash, I did not know about it. Anyway you seem to be taking it pretty wisely. It seems very brave to me that you are able to talk about it openly and in an even relaxed way, I can not do the same with the tragedy I went trough.
I always remember a song from radiohead that talks about how in a moment everything change, and what you talk about here also did reminded me about it. IT is called an airbag saved my life

I liked a lot how you end it, you are such a nice person jo, you deserve the best.

Whitney Lee said...

I think that we cannot appreciate the sweet unless we have some of the bitter...
It doesn't make the bitter any easier to swallow at the time, however.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

As do you. I so admire your great capacity to rebuild your life and your daughter's, and the ability to allow yourself happiness despite the devastating loss of someone irreplaceable. I believe your husband would be so very proud of all you've accomplished, and who you are today. You set a wonderful example for us all.

Alice Thomas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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