I spent Sunday evening at the funeral home. My stepbrother's son died Friday. He was 38 years old--younger than I am. Lung cancer.
My stepbrother and his wife put on brave faces and performed the required meet and greet. They hugged and kissed, shook hands, and asked the appropriate questions. How are the kids? How's your mom doing?
When it was my turn to go through the line my stepbrother hugged me tight and whispered in my ear, "Isn't this ugly?"
Oh, yes, it truly is ugly. It's ugly that a kind, loving young man should be taken away from those who love him. It's ugly that people feel so much despair that they are driven to take their own lives. It's ugly that our children and grandchildren are born with a syndrome that erases so many hopes and dreams. It's ugly that those same children and their parents face discrimination so often, and in so many ways. It's an ugly that can't be viewed head on, but rather by peeking cautiously through the spaces between your fingers.
Life empties us, little by little. Who can stand it?