I got some sad news tonight.
Our dog walker was in an accident about a week and a half ago and they took her off life support on Sunday. She was so young. So, so young.
The news has really affected me, for some reason. Apart from the obvious sadness of it all, I'm not sure exactly why she hasn't been far from my thoughts for the last week and a half. I'd only met her a handful of times: a young girl, crazy about animals, crazy hair, strong personality.
Honestly, after meeting her the first time, and being reassured she wasn't a psycho and would be good to our dog, I never really gave her a second thought unless I happened to be home when she came to get the dog. She was just this...fun girl who walked dogs for a living, mine included.
And here I am: swollen eyes, mind racing. I can't let it go for some reason.
You'd think the reason would be because I have a young daughter. And thinking about anything happening to her—from being bullied in school (which is a possibility, considering how awful I was as a child and payback is a bitch) to being snatched away by a predator—drives me insane.
But I don't think that's it. Partly, yes. Of course.
I can't imagine losing someone I love that much, much less my daughter. I can't imagine what her family must be going through, having to say goodbye. I just can't imagine...
But mostly...it's the suddenness of it. One day she's on a trip to Costa Rica with friends. The day after she returns, she's in intensive care.
How does that happen?
Over the last week, I've thought to myself, "She'll never have to get old. She'll never have to get sick. She'll never have to worry about her kids getting into sudden accidents and being rushed to the emergency room and put in intensive care on life support... She's at peace."
But at the same time, I thought, "She'll never get married or have a partner she wants to spend the rest of her life with. She'll never have kids. She'll never see a sunrise or the stars again. "
So the week's been a kind of seesaw of emotions for me.
My last post was about appreciating my life and all that's in it. But I don't really. I try to. I try to be present and engaged and really "in" my life. But mostly I take it for granted, racing through the days just to get it over with.
And I think maybe that's what it is. She was so full of life. She had a head of hair that could rival Cyndi Lauper on her craziest of crazy hair days. Her personality was bubbly, without being annoying, and irrepressible. And now she's gone.
How does that happen?
So tonight, I'm sad. And I'm having a glass of wine (or three) to help me cope. It seems like an irrational sadness and completely out of proportion, considering my relationship with her. But I'm sad, nonetheless.
I'd like to say I'll learn from this: take life by storm and really live. And I really do intend to do so.
But it seems that even with all my good intentions, that promise always gets pushed aside. Because I have so much I think I have to do right now. A whole week will pass before I realize I don't really remember any of it. And it's such a waste. I have a life I'm not always present enough to actually enjoy. And she had a life she embraced with both arms.
So while I don't understand how things like this can happen, perhaps she'll be a reminder to me to be happy with what I have and not care about what I don't.
To really pay attention when my daughter is telling me for the hundredth time why the twins were not good at lunch and how one kept throwing her cup off the table.
To let the irritations at work roll off me once I leave and enter my real life.
To really appreciate that I have a life. That I am alive and able to choose to have a happy life. And I have to. Because in one second, it can all change.
She'll always remind me of that. For all she was to everyone who really knew her (and looking at her facebook memorial page, she was very well loved) she will be that to me. A beautiful, crazy-haired reminder to be thankful for what and who I have in my life, and for life itself.
So thank you, Lindsay. For loving our dog, and for who you were—in my somewhat enhanced memories of you—and in reality.
Be at peace.