Thursday, March 19, 2009
Much Too Soon
I couldn’t watch the news stories about Natasha Richardson last night.
Every time a report came on about that horrible accident, I picked up the remote and changed the channel.
I kept on telling myself—lying to myself—that she could still pull out of it, that all the reports saying she was brain dead and quoting “sources close to the family” were wrong.
I thought that if I didn't watch the news, I could somehow keep it from happening. I was hoping that the next time I heard about Natasha Richardson, she would be on her way to makeing a full recovery.
I didn’t want to believe that such a talented, lovely woman could just be extinguished in what initially appeared to be a minor skiing accident.
She walked away from it, joking about her clumsiness, according to one report. And a few hours later she was dead.
I know it’s crazy, but I still find myself making these absurd comparisons, pointing to other incidents where people fell or were struck much harder and were able to walk away with hardly a scratch.
I remember the “agony of defeat” scene from the old ABC Wide World of Sports opening that showed this incredible footage of a ski jumper getting clobbered as his jump went terribly wrong.
He body crashed through a fence, his helmet was ripped off his head, and his limbs twirled in all directions. No matter how many times I saw that footage, I cringed. But the guy only suffered minor injuries.
I keep looking for rules and fairness in a universe where neither one exists. There is no one to complain to, no one to be furious with or attack. It just happened.
I was thinking of the movie Sliding Doors, with Gwyneth Paltrow, which follows two possible scenarios of one woman’s life, depending upon whether or not she catches a train.
In one version, she does indeed catch the train and gets home in time to catch her boyfriend cheating on her. She tosses him out and becomes successful and independent.
In the other version—the “loser” if you will—misses the train and misses out on a chance to turn her life around. Life is pretty bad for this version of the character…but things change.
I guess if there is any lesson to learn from this tragedy, it’s that life is precious, brief, and unpredictable. Success, wealth and fame guarantee nothing.
I think of all things that I’ve been afraid to do, how fear has played such a role in my life. And then you see something like this and realize fear has no place in your life.
My mother once told me I should thank God for every day and I'm begining to understand just how right she was.