It Matters. It Really Does.
May 7 is the second anniversary of my son-in-law Daniel’s death in a car accident on a long stretch of highway in Flagstaff, Ariz. Not an easy day around here, as you can imagine. Especially not for my daughter, who lives with me along with their now 3-year-old little girl.
As I write this, it’s now May. And the feelings are starting to well up. The grief, the sense of loss, the questions and dismay that are still as fresh as they were in 2012.
Two days ago, a direct-mail piece showed up in our mailbox. It was a fundraising appeal from the organization for which my daughter and her husband had been full-time volunteers for a year, up until not long before the accident. They were on the sailing crew that maintained and operated the organization’s small fleet of tall ships and worked hands-on with at-risk kids who came aboard to learn teamwork through sailing. It was also the organization that provided the ship that my daughter and her crew took out to sea to have a memorial and ash-scattering ceremony befitting one of their own, the sailor that my son-in-law was and that my daughter still is at heart.
The piece was either perfectly or unfortunately timed (depending on how you feel about things like this) and upsetting, to be sure. But my daughter has so many levels of fond memories of their time with this organization that it brought a bittersweet smile to her face, as well as the beginning puddles of tears around the rims of her eyes. I watched her quietly as she looked at it, held it in her hands and flicked the corner mindlessly. I watched her slip into some place of simultaneously great pain and great comfort. I watched her reach out to him in her heart and close her eyes when he reached back.