We're in your NeighbourWorld

Coping and Tragedy

With two weeks until launch and the proverbial "tunnel" quickly retreating our remaining tasks were listed:

  1. Load the furniture in the trailer
  2. Sort thriugh the clutter
  3. Pack necessities
  4. Work on the website
  5. ...and a little hanger on: fix David's Harley Davidson motorcycle and go for a final ride before putting it in storage.

We were excited. It was David's official first day off work (for a year!) and we were going to have time to enjoy the final preparations, say good bye to friends and family and calmly set sail.

7:00 am David was up. He commented at the window on the approaching black horizon. I snuggled deeper under the warm blankets. Within minutes the house was overtaken in storm- wind and whipping rain. The kind of morning squall that sounds a warning. I wondered if this was a precursor to bad news about my 97 year old Grandma in the hospital. I said a prayer.

We shook off the trepidation, dressed and headed together down to the kitchen to whip up a big breakfast. As I banged through the cupboard for the omelet pan, David checked his phone. Then everything went quiet. Funny how there are different kinds of quiet. This one was so loud with dread, it filled the room. I caught my breath and waited.

David's sister-in-law had died in an automobile accident in Norway during the night.

We only looked at each other and then it was flurry of Skype and texting to learn what we could, and make arrangements. It was the kind of situation that requires immediate logical response. You don’t absorb the news in any emotional way. It must be a coping skill: to recognize when not to let yourself feel anything.

Two hours later we were driving to the airport. David would meet his family in London, travel with them to Norway, and connect with me in Thailand when he could.


Without knowing exactly what was in his backpack (I had packed most of it for him), and with his laptops, chords, phones, android and all other versions of technology balled up in a carry on – he was off.

I snapped a picture as he left. There is a certain emptiness in long distance parting. Helpless in the absorbing knowledge that we’d just lost someone prematurely and permanently.

There sits a sick feeling in the stomach with tragedy unexplainable and unimaginable. No goodbye. So it is, and that is all. Done. Finite. The last day delivered without announcement, invitation, or warning. The if's and the why's blow there in the bitter wind.

I returned to the house. The "quiet" sounded different now. I was greeted by the remnants of David (shoes, chargers, notes, and clothes) left strewn around by our frenzied departure. I stared at the broken Harley Davidson. It seemed to speak but I never learned that language. How quickly things can change. What seemed important just hours ago means nothing to a life taken too soon.


I returned to the comfort of perceived control and promptly sat down to make a list. You have to keep moving- keep doing. It is the only way I know.

  1. Load the furniture in the trailer
  2. Sort through the remaining clutter
  3. Pack necessities
  4. Work on the website
  5. ...the bike, well that will have to wait

I checked off the items as completed, functioning in a drunk-like state of insignificance. Sometimes you just keep moving until it feels important again. Like standing in the mirror smiling until your happy - even if you start off smiling at the reflection of your tears. Mom said this works, sometimes she’s right.