Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Nightmare surprise

I really don't handle shock well and I don't handle dread at all. Some situations send me shooting into an anxiety attack like an exploding rocket. This morning when I was waking up I heard on the news that the miners in West Virginia who were supposed to have been rescued are actually dead. Only one guy is alive.

I thought about the families and the nightmare they must have gone through. Imagine you've spent hours celebrating because the governor of your state told you that your man is alive. You have a second chance. As soon as you see your husband, dad, son or brother, you're going to hug him and kiss him and tell him that you love him. Imagine being a wife who had a fight with her husband before he went off to work and now thinking that "As soon as I see him, I'll tell him he was right and I was wrong."

Imagine standing surrounded by your relatives and rejoicing and then seeing a woman crying in the back of the room. She is a relative of the man who was found dead yesterday. You catch your breath. Sure you're happy but this poor woman..... You go over to her to comfort her. Afterall, you're man is alive and you can afford to be magnanimous. Besides, this is a small town. You probably know this woman. You probably went to school with her or her kin. Her son might play football with one of yours. You try to say the right things and you might think about donating some money to help her with the expenses that will surely come. And then it happens.

A man or men in suits come into the room. They announce that there's been a mistake, a miscommunication. There is only one survivor and it's not your loved one. Your man is dead. He's been dead for hours. All the time you've been celebrating he's been lying dead. That woman who you were comforting a second ago is now your sister in grief. You do not have a second chance. You have no husband, no brother, no father, no son. The exquisite joy that was in your heart just a second ago has died and is choking you. Your stomach is tight and feels like you've swallowed wet dust and the anxiety pains feel like you're being stabbed.

This is not a bad dream. It's real and all anyone from the mine and the authorities can say to you is "accident", "mistake" and "miscommunication" . Now that's a nightmare. Those poor women. Those poor families.

Eternal rest, give to them oh Lord.
And let perpetual light shine upon them.

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