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Friday, July 10, 2009

Sometimes, Life is Hard

The past week has been the carrier of bad news. Monday I found out that my parent's house flooded while they were away on a holiday weekend with friends. A pipe burst at some point during the weekend and water just gushed and gushed into the house. Every inch of the floor was soaking wet and water had begun to rise up into the walls as well. Lots of furniture and fixtures were moved out onto their driveway and everything else was piled on top of beds and counters. It is one big mess. They were told by the flood control guys that their house is what they call an unlivable situation. They will pack everything up, move it out, then pretty much destroy the entire interior of their house, making sure that every bit of water gets removed. In the meantime they are living in a condo provided by some good friends at their church. They are coming here on August 13 so they have about a month to endure living in a displaced situation. I hate living so far away when these things happen. I'd love to be able to be there to help them pack their clothes, sort through what they need and ultimately make decisions about the house. So far it sounds like the insurance company will do right by them, but it's clear that the entire house will have to be re-done. In 6 months they will feel better. Right now it's a stress-filled burden that threatens to overwhelm them. Did I mention it's also 115 degrees F where they live? The house is like one big sauna with the heat of the day, the driers and the amount of moisture in the air.
Of course, they are grateful that it's only stuff, no one is injured, they have insurance, etc. But it's not such a good feeling to see your house upended. Every day something new, usually bad, comes to light. Our biggest hope is that it gets fixed properly so that they won't have mold issues down the road.
The second bit of really bad news I received this week is very serious. A friend from high school died of pancreatic cancer on Thursday. I haven't seen Liz in probably 25 years, but it has touched me. She married her high school sweetheart and they enjoyed a 26 year marriage that also spawned 4 kids. Her husband played football for my dad and they were well-liked by all. I attended my 30 year high school reunion last fall and since then have reconnected with many classmates, mainly through Facebook. It's been amazing to reconnect with these old friends with whom I have shared a special part of my history. I guess Liz's passing is especially poignant to me as so many have shared their thoughts on Facebook. The bright spot is that her death has allowed me to reconnect with many classmates. Still, I find myself thinking about Vic and the kids, praying for all who knew her well and wishing I was close enough to Orange County to attend her funeral on Tuesday. It's a weird connection that I someone I haven't seen in years and yet with whom I share a significant past. Peace to Liz's memory. She was a great person who made all who knew her laugh and smile often.
Finally, yesterday I got word that my sisters-in-law will have to put their dog, Cheyenne, down today. She is an old girl and it's time, but this is never easy. That dog has been in their life since I met them and the hole that her lack of presence will mean for them and their kids leaves me longing. Putting down a pet is such a significant event. The kids will have to figure out how to grieve and deal with this loss and Jan and Cindy will have to adjust to life without Cheyenne for the first time in years.
So for now I'm thinking quite a bit about losses, both great and small, and how they affect us and shape us and make us who we are. I'm praying for peace and comfort for those in pain and happy that there is indeed hope beyond the grave.
Sometimes life is hard. It's good we have one another to walk beside.