Another (Sad) Day in America, July 12, 2017

I didn’t know him. I’d never met him. He was the brother of one of my wife’s really good friends. I had heard that my wife’s friend had been worried about her brother for a while. This week, he died, of cancer. He was 58. He left a wife and two grown children.

The day we drove to the wake was a beautiful day. We were going to go to the beach but instead we drove off the Cape and over the bridge. Later, we drove another bridge, and then another. The view from the biggest of the bridges was spectacular. The sun was shinning on the water. You could see over the islands of the bay and out into the ocean. There were black and white lighthouses with sailboats all around. Many people were out on the water, enjoying a moments in the sun while they can. We have very short summers in New England. We all really, have very short lives. Most of us won’t here long enough to become cyborgs.

We got to the funeral parlor ten minutes after the wake began. There was a policeman out in front, directing traffic. The parking lot was full. He had died young. Pictures of him and his family were displayed in the hallway. His friends, his co-workers and his clients were all lined up to shake the hand and give a hug to his wife, his sister, and his children. People smiled as they talked. Others cried.

It’s sad when someone dies, even if you hardly know them. I know the sister and I like her a lot. I don’t want her to be sad. But, her brother had cancer. The new medicines kept him alive for probably seven years longer than the treatments that were available twenty years ago. Cancer is still very lethal. So are heart disease, Parkinson’s, ALS, Malaria and opioid overdoses. I’ve known people who have died due to all of these.

I don’t know the woman in Mosul who died while she was trying to save her child from the bombs that were falling to “free” her city. Her daughter died also. That makes me sad. Some of us know some people who will die in the next year or so if the Republicans pass the anti-Obama health care plan. As the man said, the goal is to reduce premiums, not to give people health care. That makes me sad — and angry.

It makes me angry that tens of thousands of people are now suffering in jails in my country for the crime of being here for fifteen years and working to support their families in the kitchens of fast-food restaurants.

But I don’t know those people. Well, actually, I know some of their children, but they are in high school now, so they can take care of themselves, right?

Hey, I don’t mean to be such a bummer. It’s a beautiful day. I’m pretty sure that not too many people in those boats with the big white sails, gliding past the lighthouses, and didn’t go to a wake are too bummed out by all of this. Perhaps they will be when they get home and turn on CNN.

I don’t begrudge them a good time on this beautiful summer day. Life is short. It’s important to enjoy yourself if whenever you can. I just hope they realize how fortunate they are.

And you too. If your reading this, and your not in pain, either physical or emotional. I’m happy for you.

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