Feeling vulnerable today. Feeling stunned as well. Wishing I could still smoke cigarettes, though 34 years have passed since I did. Need to take that long, deep drag on a cigarette that is like the deepest you can inhale. I’ve never been sure why taking a deep breath of fresh air just doesn’t feel as satisfying. I am a jangled mess today for many reasons, some more trivial and some completely heartbreaking.
The trivial one first. My tooth broke over the weekend. I bit down on a cherry pit and whammo – the temporary filling I had for 28 years shattered – tooth face and all! When I was pregnant with my second son and lived in the Hamptons, Dr. Frost said I shouldn’t have work done on my teeth while pregnant so he installed this black temporary filling, that I believe was made of cement! It has served me well, albeit ugly and noticeable in photos and I stupidly, never addressed replacing it over all these years. My come-uppance has arrived and now, I am faced with a costly, painful, scary dilemma. I got into see my often depressed, kind of quirky dentist this morning and he winced when he saw the tooth and shuddered when he viewed the x-ray. Alas, there is nothing left but some filling and I am clearly missing a tooth when I smile, so I refuse to remain toothless. My choices are grim, running from hundreds of dollars for something temporary to $6000 for an implant. I feel old and falling apart and scared to death of procedures like these, not to mention, at a loss for where I will find this much money. Not a good start to my day.
However, I am keeping it all in perspective, because I have been weeping since last night and not over my tooth but over something far more wrenching.
I have known my friend Mindy (whose real name is Michelle) since I was in kindergarten and although we have never been very close, we have been with each other for most days of the year through all 12 years of school, in every single class! Mindy had a little sister named, Lynn Ann when we were growing up in the ENY projects. She was a few years younger than us so we never bothered much with her. She was cute enough but she seemed to be always doing something with her mom when we were hanging out dreaming of Paul McCartney and George Harrison. Mindy had one of the fanciest apartments on the first floor of her building in the projects with clear vinyl covering the couches and a lot of fringe dangling from the lampshades. Her parents were Clara and Jerry and they were an attractive active couple. The expression of the day for mothers who worked was “She goes to business.” I believe that Clara went to business.
I don’t remember much about Lynn Ann after those early days until a few years ago I shared a Marriott room with Mindy and our friend, Susan at a reunion in Long Island. It was then, that I first heard about Lynn Ann again and about how different these sisters had turned out (is that not always the case??). And, I remember Mindy telling us that she had a close relationship with her nieces, Dianna and Rachel. She described how they lived in wilderness areas in Canada and this seemed very different to Mindy. Lynn Ann actually sounded like she had grown up into someone I might really like to know.
About four days ago, Mindy posted on her Facebook page that there had been a landslide in British Columbia and that some residents were being searched for. She was unsure if her nieces were a part of this. Day by day, it has gotten worse and more harrowing. I did not even know what a landslide was but thanks to Facebook and Youtube, I sure did learn what they looked like and the rampage of damage they cause. In fact, so much so, that I have watched the live footage over and over and like an awful horror movie, I cannot get these images to keep replaying in my mind’s eye.
Apparently, Dianna, Rachel and their dad, Valentine were having breakfast outside their home, overlooking the most ideal, paradise-like in Johnson’s Landing on the lake. I don’t know if a landslide happens in seconds or in minutes. I don’t know if it is a roaring, loud sound or if is more subtle. I do know that it takes all dirt, mud, trees and houses with it with a force the likes of which I have only seen in Tsunamis, and apparently, the Webber house was taken and smashed and cracked into pieces, and then buried in mud. For the three-day search, it was felt that the two girls and their dad had taken to the basement and needed to be rescued. I wondered how long one can go without food or water but convinced myself that both were supplies might be in the smashed basement with them.
Lynn Ann arrived in Vancouver on Saturday, the third day and was frantically trying to convince the rescue to speed up. There was literally no way to rescue anyone since the mud was compared to “quicksand” rendering it impossible to get to the smashed home. I became completely fixated on updates, on watching helicopters try to get to the home, and on keeping track of the latest news. I also texted my friend Mindy who when asked how she was passing the time, shared that she could not stop crying.
It was last night when the workers stopped being called “rescue workers” and became “recovery crew.” In the morning, they found Val, the dad buried under about 3 yards of dirt. The girls are still missing. I remain more involved than I should be. There are many reasons that my emotions run haywire over this sort of thing. The main one is probably that I cannot bear to think that any other mother in the universe would ever have to feel the agony over losing a child. Losing two at once is not comprehensible. Suffocating in mud seems very similar to me as the nightmare of drowning and suffocating in water. I become consumed wondering if they suffered, if they tried to breathe or if they were knocked unconscious immediately from all the falling trees. It is amazing that they were together since the older girl lived in Los Angeles and the younger was to be a senior in the local high school in this remote area.
Then, after I know someone cherished has died, I spend days thinking of all they will miss. At Yoga tonight, I imagined that they will never again get to do yoga. When I got coffee, I thought the same and when I looked at the Carolina blue sky today I realized they would never see that either. No graduation this year, no weddings, no having babies, just a funeral.