Yesterday a coworker’s husband died while diving. He was 35 and they had been together since 9th grade. He also left a 7 year old daughter. I didn’t know him but I’ve known his wife for years and his mom used to be a state commissioner and frequented the AG’s office quite a bit when I worked there. His dad is the chancellor at UAA, SE and he is often heard on the radio or on TV. I wasn’t close friends with any of them but his death affected me deeply.
I think about his wife and how she got out of bed that morning and did all the routine things one does to get ready for work. How is must have felt like an typical, ordinary Monday morning, the knowledge that she was stepping into the worst day of her life blissfully ignorant to her. Her husband was probably already gone, he was working as a deck hand that day and they were going sea cucumber diving. She was probably feeding her daughter and getting her ready for school. When she got to work she probably visited with coworkers and inquired about the weekend that had just passed before she settled into her desk to begin work.
It probably couldn’t have been anything but a regular day at work before two JPD officers appeared at her desk that day asking to speak to her in private. I imagine anyone seeing them walking in prayed a quick prayer that those officers weren’t there looking for them. Whose desk they stopped at was a gruesome, random chance. Another woman in the office saw them and had her own flashbacks, these officers had appeared at her desk one day to give her the news her daughter was dead. I think of all the military spouses who have looked up to see uniformed men approaching their doorstep and want to run back in time and make it stop. As she walked to the conference room, I can’t imagine what his wife was thinking. Who in her family could it be? Her mother? Her father? A sibling? I’m sure her mind wouldn’t allow her to think it was her husband or her daughter. Perhaps she hoping someone just got arrested before she realized they wouldn’t be paying an office visit to share that information. It’s those visceral moments in life that tend to define us. You become who you are because of the results of these moments. It will always be a part of your history. Someday, she will find a new normal…she may even find love again and remarry but she will always be a woman who found herself in front of two officers on that rainy October morning in Juneau.
I can’t begin to imagine what she is going through today. To wake up (if she managed to sleep at all) and realize she is a widow. That the love of her life and the father of her child is gone from this earth, that the plans she had for the weekend and for next month and for the rest of her life no longer apply. I am overwhelmed for her, thinking of decisions that have to be made, vacations that have to be cancelled, dreams that have to be rewritten. One life ended, many lives interrupted.
On Facebook this morning she pleaded with people to hug those you love and love so hard you have no regrets. She said she had no regrets, because of the love they shared. She assured people she would be fine with him as their angel watching over them. She also knows the Lord and I’m positive he is holding her close, comforting her and giving her peace as only a loving Father can do.