Sunday, January 11, 2015

Life and Death

Yesterday was a particularly difficult day. I woke up in a great mood. I had some great dreams the night before. I proceeded to do what I do just about every morning...check my phone for the news, Twitter, Facebook and my TimeHop. Within seconds my good mood turned to fear, then shock and disbelief. 

A member of my high school forensics team posted a really sad status regarding his daughter and his daughter's mother. After a little digging and news story hunting I learned the gut-wrenching truth: there was a really bad accident and it claimed five lives. I knew two of them. 

Also a member of my high school forensics team as well as student government and many committees is Ebony. She was our valedictorian. She is one of three sisters. Her mother worked at my dentist. Her older sister was always nice when I spoke to her. Her younger sister was on the forensics team. I remember when her younger sister was pregnant with her first child. I enjoyed trolling Facebook and watching this little girl grow up. Then the younger sister was pregnant with her second child. Little did I know, her older sister was also pregnant. 

Ebony's older sister Zarissa, younger sister Regina, Regina's two children...7 year old Jordan and 3 month on Jonathan, and Regina's boyfriend/Jonathan's father were killed in a horrible car accident in the early hours of January 10th on Route 50 in Maryland. They were headed to Zarissa's baby shower in Baltimore when they collided with a tractor trailer. The tractor trailer rolled over top of their car, killing everyone instantly except...according to news reports....Zarissa who was rushed to the hospital. She died there with her unborn daughter, Zoe. 

I spent the day trying to process this loss. I thought about Ebony and her parents losing so many loved ones all at once. I thought about Jordan's dad. I thought about Regina's boyfriend's family. I thought about Jordan's classmates. I thought about all of the people waiting to celebrate the baby shower for Zoe. I couldn't shake the numb and unsettling feeling all day. I felt like I was in a vacuum. I couldn't focus. 

I knew there was nothing I could do but pray for the family and send kind words. One thing I was able to do was correct the spelling of Zarissa's name on NBC10's webpage. I contacted the journalists who wrote up the story (it didn't take long for it to make national news) and told then that Zerissa is the incorrect spelling, regardless what official sources say. They corrected it. I also corrected a blunt comment on an ABC national news site and the poster removed the comment. 

I knew I couldn't spend the day in bed reading and rereading people's reactions to the news, the news stories, and feeling the overall hopelessness that comes when tragedies like this occur. I went out to run errands and go to the gym. On my way to the bank I came across a wedding photo shoot in Rittenhouse Square. It struck me...on a day where five people had died and hundreds were mourning, here was a couple celebrating what may just be one of the happiest day of their lives. What a juxtaposition. 

Many lessons are learned from this. Such as "life is short" and "live fully" and "it can happen in an instant." But most of those lessons are really harsh. They also make you question your life and personal happiness. If something were to happen to you tomorrow and today was your last day on earth, would you feel satisfied? Are you happy right now? 

Until next time...

May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God, Rest in Peace. 

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