After waiting an hour-and-a-half for my food at Poor Richard's, I finally gobbled down the entire plate of pasta primavera like it had fallen from the sky. Five hours later, some remaining microbe or bacterial strain or rare combination of al dente pasta and complete disdain latched onto my innards and rendered me violently ill.
Then there was a power outage. My air conditioner shut off, taking with it my last remaining thread to reality. I entered a hallucinatory fever dream state for just under an hour, seeing things that weren't there, hearing voices that were thousands of miles away, my face and neck and hands caked in a layer of sticky sweat in starchy sheets.
It had been a while since I had been in so much pain, and when my fever broke and I more or less came to, I stared up at the unlit chandelier and the stationary ceiling fan and clutched my torso in horror at the turmoil it was hosting. Conflation of circumstance and condition connected and I thought, "I could just die right now."
But things got better, as they always seem to. I'm currently vertical, lucid, and smelling fresh as a daisy. Power's back on, air conditioner's working, and last night, I enjoyed an Ultimate Cheeseburger combo (with curly fries, of course) from Jack in the Box before falling asleep to season five episodes of How I Met Your Mother and waking up to a rising sun and a beautiful 6:30 AM in Colorado.
And then I found out that somebody just died. Someone I had never met and about whom I knew very little, but that never really seems to matter. This is someone who had a name, a family, friends, relationships, tethers to the world. And then I look at all of the horseshit that I think is so important in my life--the 50% off Criterion DVD sale at Barnes and Noble, the new tattoo of Lazarus that now seems both twice as relevant and twice as inappropriate--and I think that, to this family, to those who are still here, whatever people tell them won't make it any better. I immediately regretted my half-cocked, insincere death wish and resented my own weakness for even having spoken such horrible things.
I've always felt it really horrifying to see well-intentioned people spout ghastly excerpts from scripture to reassure mourning survivors that their loved one is in a "better place." Even if this person truly does believe that the departed is happier now--even if the departed actually is happier now--that doesn't matter. That doesn't make the pain go away and it rarely, if ever, seems to make it better.
So I guess what I'm trying to say is:
"I'm sorry for your loss and I wish there was some way I could help."
Because, in the context of this situation, the only two things I capital-k-KNOW are:
1. These people are desperately hurting.
2. There is nothing that we can do.
And, I guess, one more:
3. I am so sorry that I am strong enough to fix this.
You're all in my prayers.