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Sunday, March 11, 2007

But. for the grace....

I know that I have a fairly iron-clad policy against blogging about my job, but I feel it OK to violate that policy just this once.

I work with this woman's father. I can't think of a more gut-wrenching thing to happen to two parents, or to an engaged man. And I say that as someone whose gut has been wrenched a-plenty in the last couple of years.

I think of all the tiny little things that happen during a day that might have preserved her life: a green light that she might have otherwise caught red, a conversation that might have gone on just thirty seconds longer. Instead, she was in exactly the most horrible place to be at exactly the most horrible time to be there.

And now, instead of planning her wedding, her loved ones are planning her burial.

I know this poem by A.E. Housman is about a male athlete, but I always think of it in times like this:

THE time you won your town the race
We chaired you through the market-place;
Man and boy stood cheering by,
And home we brought you shoulder-high.

To-day, the road all runners come,
Shoulder-high we bring you home,
And set you at your threshold down,
Townsman of a stiller town.

Smart lad, to slip betimes away
From fields where glory does not stay,
And early though the laurel grows
It withers quicker than the rose.

Eyes the shady night has shut
Cannot see the record cut,
And silence sounds no worse than cheers
After earth has stopped the ears:

Now you will not swell the rout
Of lads that wore their honours out,
Runners whom renown outran
And the name died before the man.

So set, before its echoes fade,
The fleet foot on the sill of shade,
And hold to the low lintel up
The still-defended challenge-cup.

And round that early-laurelled head
Will flock to gaze the strengthless dead,
And find unwithered on its curls
The garland briefer than a girl's.

--"To an Athlete Dying Young"


Sigh, with tears.

1 comment:

Pat said...

Scotty pointed me your way -- I knew the guy that hit her car...he worked at the college where I work.

Senseless. Stupid. Sad.

My entry here