I woke up this morning to learn from Facebook friends that a friend and his wife had been killed in an automobile accident in Peru. Lee was a great guy - funny, smart and genuine. Here is a blog post from one of his Microsoft colleagues and friends - savas: RIP My Friend Lee Dirks
I knew Lee for a long time; we graduated college together in Texas back in the 80s. Admittedly, I can’t say we were very close friends or that we’d kept in touch very well. I’d seen him at weddings and reunions only a few times since graduation. But, Lee was great friends with some of my dearest college friends and his death will leave a very big hole in their hearts.
Which breaks my heart. I am sad for his children - too young to lose their parents and know the grief and emptiness of being an orphan. I am sad for my dear friends - Rama and Mindy and KA and Martha and all my classmates - too young to lose one of our own. Not the first - sadly, not even the first this year.
I am sad because sometimes it feels as though the world is piling on.
I woke up yesterday to news that people were being rescued from their rooftops in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana. And this morning to news that a dam may not hold, that rivers were rising and Slidell neighborhoods were flooding. Those images, those sick feelings of dread were all too familiar - all too soon and all too raw.
I am sad that the people of Louisiana and greater New Orleans have to go through this again. Those are my people - my family, my friends, the people and places I grew up with. I am relieved that the people in my immediate circle are safe, dry and slowly breathing out today.
But, I worry. I worry because I know. I know that once you feel the grief and pain of losing a parent, losing a second parent, losing a child, losing a good friend, losing your home or losing a good part of the city you love, each subsequent loss cuts deeper and reopens the grief you thought had passed. Once you’ve lost your sense of security, once you’ve experienced that kind of grief, something changes.
Because time doesn’t truly heal all wounds. As a broken bone is never truly fully mended or a cut leaves a scar, grief leaves its scars. It passes. The pain lessens, the cuts heal. The process is certainly not linear, but washes over you, like the hurricane bands, in waves with breaks between the rain and destruction. With the calm of the eye when you think you’ve gotten through it. And then you get slammed by the back side.
And then it drifts away. It moves on. It dissipates. It's gone.
Only until the next one pops up on the Atlantic radar. And you just hope that the battle scars provide some level of protection, some wisdom or cover for the pain, the heartache and the worry for the storm you know is coming. But mostly, you are weary. And wary. And the battle scars ache a little deeper, bracing for more.