Monday, September 17, 2012

Life is Short

Life is short.  We put off until tomorrow too many things.  Too many things get left unsaid.  Too many dreams pushed to the back burner while we do senseless things.  We trade hours for dollars doing things we hate and forget what is really important, neglect relationships and miss out on wonderful experiences.

Perhaps I am rambling, but my balance has been upset.  I found out this week that a dear friend was a victim of an absolutely horrible and extreme case of domestic violence.  She was shot and killed in the parking lot of  her place of employment by her estranged husband.  He some time later killed himself.  You can read more about Kathy Bertrand's death here.

Left behind are three precious children, ages 13, 11, and 7.

I was in Raleigh at Whole Foods on Sunday.  Funny thing was the last place I had seen Kathy.  I bumped into her there about a year ago.  We made empty promises to "get together" soon, hadn't really seen each other since her move to Raleigh.

We were once awesome friends.  When she first came to North Carolina, she had found me through La Leche League.  We were both leaders and homeschoolers and had children the same ages.  She was the only person I knew in the area, and numerous afternoons were spent in her backyard or the park while our kids got dirty or wet or both.  We shared similar philosophies on child-rearing and education and natural health.  I took her dinner after her youngest was born at home.  I remember feeling so very lucky that I had found a kindred spirit tucked here in this little backwards section of eastern NC.

But her husband got a job closer to Raleigh. And there is much, much more to do there than there is here.  Many more free-thinking parents raising their children outside of the mainstream.  They relocated, and after a few months of sporadic visits back and forth, we had drifted apart.

Thank you, Kathy for keeping me sane those first couple of years I struggled here in Tarboro.  It was nice to have a friend who saw me as interesting and influential.  It was wonderful to have someone who didn't judge me based on the car I drove, the tidiness of my home, or most especially the cleanliness and manners of my children.  There aren't many people that you meet in this life that you can let your hair down and truly be yourself with, and I thank you for being that person for me, even if only for a short time.  And I'm sorry that I didn't work harder at maintaining our friendship.  But it was exactly what I needed exactly when I needed it.

I've not before been so slapped in the face with the issue of domestic violence.  It's just something I had never, ever expected to happen to someone like Kathy.  In my paradigm, domestic abuse happened to poor women with little education.  But Kathy was middle class, had served as a corporate lawyer before she gave that up to be home full-time when her children were babies.  I had eaten dinner with her family, grilled out with her and her husband, and I never in a million years would have thought him capable of such horror.  But that's part of the dirty little secret.  The abuser can be one person to the world at large and someone totally other in private.

Today I am fully aware of the frailty of life.  I will hug my children a little bit tighter.  I will smile at perfect strangers.  I will eat lunch outside and enjoy the feel of the sun on my face.  Today I will get busy living.  These dreams won't chase themselves.

Donations are being collected here by Pier 1 Imports of Cameron Village to help support Kathy's beautiful orphaned children. Thank you.

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