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Impossibly True

July 26, 2021

Almost 35 years ago, a woman called me and blurted that her dad, 67, had died as he walked off the jetway coming to London. He was a world class athlete as a student, went on to be an Athletic Director at private schools, being fully in shape and aware of his body. His death, announced in the New York Times, was said to be a heart attack then. It was shocking, and the woman was but 32.


The woman lived the next 35 year in full health. Her husband and my wife and I became dear friends – all Godparents of each others’ children. When retirement came for them, our friends moved north to be with us again, after being apart for about 30 years. They moved to a fun house, where my friend had her own indoor pool, used almost daily, with a trim and well-worked body. In light of her father’s instant passing, she checked into the Mayo clinic a few years ago, before the move, to establish a baseline – and was pronounced fully fit after 3 days of tests.

We had a classic fun dinner 5 days ago, familiarity and love making for our usual great conversation, ending in a hard hug, in the light of our mutual safety after over a year of extreme caution.

36 hours later my friend died.

In the same fully inscrutably quick and unpredicted manner, she fell during a tennis match. This time the doctors say it was an aortic dissection, usual found in men, like her dad. So, after a year of extreme adherence to protocols, death from something she probably was born with, caused by what may have ended her father’s life.

Her daughter, our Goddaughter, is the same age as her mother was when she called me. There are no reasons for any of these events, but there are coincidences. There is no justice, no fairness, no way to judge or learn or transact any wisdom from this and the other losses we experience, every day.

Jimmy Carter said “Life is not fair.” St. Paul said “love never fails.” Both are right.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Gawain de Leeuw permalink
    July 26, 2021 9:22 pm

    Oh, dear. My condolences. The losses seem to gather steam over time, and yet we still come to the grave, singing alleluia. How hard sometimes it is to hear that song, tho.

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