Saturday, June 13, 2009

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may ...

A few weeks ago, on a Saturday evening, just after sunset, the coyotes in our back forty erupted into howls. It wasn't the usual yip-yip-yipping that accompanies a successful hunt, but a beautiful and haunting chorus that made the little hairs on the back of my neck stand up. After a few seconds, I realized that the coyotes were harmonizing with the sirens of one of the local volunteer fire departments.

Not again, I pleaded with the fates. There had already been too many terrible car crashes in this area over the past few months.

Again, replied the newspaper the next morning. Again, and again, and again, and again. Four young lives extinguished in the blink of an eye. Five, if you count the unborn child that one of the deceased carried in her womb. In an instant, a moment of Saturday night shenanigans resulted in hundreds of broken hearts. I can't help but think that this was the reason for the coyotes' mournful serenade.

At first, I didn't recognize any of the names in the ensuing news articles. After a few days, I realized that I had a very tangential connection, in that the father of two of the victims was a regular visitor to one of the long-term patients on my unit. And then my blood ran cold, to think of the unspeakable pain that this man and his family now faced.

Within days of this tragedy, I read the obituaries of three people who had been my patients a few weeks earlier, when I had been floated to another floor. Their deaths were expected, but still, I was jarred. Shortly thereafter, my Great Uncle passed away. I had just gone to visit him a week earlier. He was clearly not well then, but his death still came suddenly and sooner than expected.

As odd as this may seem, coming from a nurse, I don't encounter death very often, and certainly not in such clusters. I could wax poetic about the fragility of life, or spout some existential nonsense here, but the simple truth is that I've been jarred out of my complacency and procrastination. Projects which have been on my "someday I'm gonna .." list are getting done now. The rosebush, pictured above, is the one that has brought me the most joy so far.

I trust that all of you are well, and hope that you are finding beauty and peace in your respective corners of the world.

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, my friends.


Anonymous said...

Well said


Valerie said...

yes, well said....and sad...