None of Us Is Golden
We’ve lost some good souls these past weeks – two young, bright lights in Roanoke, and a few older ones, whose radiance remained bright through the years, Oliver Sacks, Wayne Dyer. These were the “famous” ones, the ones in the news. And some of us also lost people whom we loved, who contributed to our lives as only they could, people whom few outside their small world would know, ordinary people, ordinary, just like us. We understand why we feel sad, bereft when they leave us. But why do we ache when strangers, but only some strangers, die? We feel sad, for a few seconds, when we read about fifty Syrians who suffocated in a truck; we shake our heads in sorrow when 100 are drowned in a hurricane that struck an island that is “somewhere down there,” or the forty-five people who were murdered in Baltimore in the month of August. It is sad, but far away from us. We breathe a sigh of thanksgiving that it was they, not us, and feel, for a moment at least, that death cannot touch us.
But a young woman, beautiful with a million dollar smile, a camera man, who looks exactly like someone we all know, murdered almost in front of us, that hits home. We carry books written by Oliver Sacks, feel that he is speaking just to us. We read Wayne Dyer, and take to heart at least some of his advice about the power of intention, the personal power that each of us possesses to find and bring happiness to our lives and the lives of others. These two left a legacy, a written one, as well as one written on our hearts. When those whom we admire from afar vanish, it brings us back to reality. If it can happen to them what chance do we mortals have? For none of us is golden, none of us is safe, from life, from death.
The two young journalists left us a legacy of appreciating the moment, of a spirit and a smile, and perhaps a groundswell for reasonable dialogue on gun control.
And for those of us whose losses are more private, those we love have left us a legacy as well. And it is ours to remember:
“They leave holes that cannot be filed, for it is the fate – the genetic and neutral fate – of every human being to be a unique individual to find his own path, to live his own life, to die his own death.”
Oliver Sacks, 1933-2015