My friends 4 year old daughter Destiny died Tuesday.
She was born with all sorts of problems, lived the first two years of her life in the hospital. At birth she was given 6 months, tops. With her problems, blind, severely mentally handicapped, and other organ problems, that she lasted 4 years was a miracle, eventually her little heart just couldn't take anymore and exploded.
The parents, Matt and Megan, are taking it pretty well, they have had plenty of time to come to terms with it as being inevitable, and their have been a lot of really close calls over the years. Destiny's brothers, Dustin and Donovan, are in complete denial, thinking Destiny is just at the hospital again, and will be coming home. I think that's harder on the parents than anything else. Donovan is 6, so he will remember her at least, but Dustin is only 3, and will likely only vaguely remember he once had a sister.
The last few days our circle of friends does what we always do, we wrap our friends up in our love, protecting them and soothing them as best we can. Our little gang of friends is closer to each other than most people are to their own parents and siblings. This isn't our first tragedy, sadly, as the years go by their have been far too many. So many in fact that The routine has become somewhat mechanical. First person to hear about it calls everyone else, and we bring the grieving or troubled ones to my house.
My house is specifically set up for the comfort of my friends, it is clean and neat, but with plenty of room, plenty of distractions, and it is always comfortable and feels like home to anyone who sets foot in the door, it is where we meet, it is where we game, and it is where we have our deepest conversations... in a very real sense it is a church, a holy temple dedicated to comfort and friendship.
The grieving or troubled don't always end up there, but it is where they naturally gravitate towards. And once there our extended family descends on my home like mother hens and the love generated is so heady you can feel it in the air, you can see it.
Destiny's funeral services are tomorrow, I seem to be attending so many of them lately. I understand it's a part of life, but I still feel so young, my friends are so young in my eyes.
I understand as well as Destiny's parents that this was inevitable, and perhaps even a blessing in it's own right as with her problems, that little girl would never have had anything remotely resembling a normal life, and would never have known a day without pain. But that's the tragedy, that she was born that way in the first place, that she never had a chance, that both she and her parents had to undergo these struggles for so very long for what seems like nothing in the end.
But if life and it's tragedies teach us anything, it's to cherish each other, to hold fast to the ones we love. To make them understand every day how much they mean to us, and how much we would do for them. We can't choose who our parents are, we can't choose who our brothers and sisters and children are, but we can choose our families. Family is more than blood, it's who we choose to let closest to us, who we take to our bosom and invite into our homes. And everyone of us should find the time to realize how important that is, and how grateful we should be for it.
We don't get much in this world, but the things that matter, friends, family... these are what make us wealthy.
And it's not only the people we have physical contact with. Here at the Outhouse, and before it when we all electronically dwelled at the 'Rama, I have seen the same reactions, the same nurturing, the same protection. It's why this place is special, and why I love so many of you, so very much. When someone is in trouble, you are there for them, it's not all lutz and dick jokes, this community we have made here, this giant gathering of misfits, outcasts, and vagabonds, we are a family, even if only through digital representation. And every now and then, it should behoove us to recognize that.
My friends, be thankful, cherish each other, as I cherish you. As long as we have this, this place will continue to be the electronic refuge, the virtual home, for all of us.
Never forget, you are who you associate with, and never forget to recognize what makes everything else worthwhile.
I love you all!
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