Friday, November 27, 2015

Tragedy and the Final X

Today my hometown was once again thrust into the arms of tragedy and violence. A shooter, now identified as Robert Lewis Dear, holed up in a Planned Parenthood office and ended up wounding nine people and killing three people, including two civilians and a campus police officer from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

It's hard to go back to living your life and doing mundane things around the house when you know there were a few of people from here in Colorado Springs who woke up today and had no idea that yesterday was going to be their last Thanksgiving, and that they wouldn't make it to tonight or live another day past today to see their family and friends ever again.

I remember seeing a calendar in my kids' grandfather's room on the day after he died from a heart attack in his sleep. I glanced at the monthly page as I was on my way to the bathroom. He had marked off every day that had come and gone with an X, with notes about what he'd done and planned to do for upcoming days. I stood for a moment and stared at the final X he marked on his calendar...and then I looked at the notes he had for the rest of the month...what he had on his to-do list for around the house, etc.

That final X has stuck with me. He didn't know it would be the last X he'd mark on his calendar. He had plans, but he died in his sleep that night. No more notes, no more crossing off the days of tasks he completed...it was done, and so was he.

Sobering and sad. Life can be real shitty at times, but even during the shitty times, you are still breathing and living.

You never know when you're going to put down the last X on your monthly calendar, or breathe your last breath. You won't know if you'll be here next Thanksgiving, or even tomorrow. In the end, life completes your tasks for you, even if you weren't ready to have them finished. We all have a final X. You only have today, this moment. Maybe we should make sure all our X's count.

Don't you think so?