Thursday, June 24, 2010

A loss

Our Lady of the Wayside, Ireland [Photo copyright Wynn Anne Sibbald]

Have you ever noticed that, the more profound your feelings are, the more trite your sentiments sound when you try to put them into words?

This is never more true than when someone dies. Really, what can you say about such a complete loss? There is never a good time - or a good way - to lose someone we love or respect or admire. Or even just care about. As our synapses truncate our associations with this person, we are left trying to make sense of the senseless.

Yesterday, we learned that Nancy, a good friend and Canadian officer also serving here at NORAD, was killed in a head-on collision while riding her motorcycle. While we weren't part of her inner circle, we were close enough that we attended each other's parties, we worked together. Steve travelled with her on business and knew her better than I. We met her teenaged children, and saw how they loved her, and she them.

I don't want to turn this post into a eulogy for Nancy. There are others who know - and loved - her better than I. But, fuck, some people really do leave a bigger hole when they are gone, and Nancy was absolutely one of those. I could string adjectives for an hour and still have more good things to say about her.

And I know, I know that God is working in his mysterious way, and that Nancy, pure soul now, is beyond all this. But, like all grieving, mine is essentially selfish. It's not really about Nancy, because, honestly, I don't think she has lost - I think she's gained. It's about those left behind and all that we, they (oh, her poor children!), have lost.

It is just wrong for her to be gone. Her story wasn't anywhere close to being finished.

And now, the trite sentiment that I've been trying not to write, but which is so true about Nancy that it has to be said: the world really was a better place with her in it, and we are better for having known her.

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