I heard about it before the ball dropped at midnight; my husband saw something on his phone about the family of five who was killed in Costa Rica in a small plane crash and mentioned it to me. A father, mother and their three sons all perished. In the morning texts, starting coming in from friends about the tragedy, “Did you know them?” and “How tragic.”
No, I didn’t know the family, but there was barely one degree of separation between myself and them; they lived in a community not far from my own. Turns out one of my friend’s sons knew the oldest boy from college. My friend said she didn’t sleep and thought about them all night. I’m sure there will be other connections as well.
A cousin texted me about how she had been thinking about them. She said, “It’s just terrifying because it could be any of us.” She has three sons, as do I, which makes this tragedy even more personal and relatable. I looked at the picture of the family who died and thought about all the promise and hopes and dreams those parents had for their sons. All the work and love that went into raising their sons to young adulthood. The after-school sports and religious school and braces and college applications. The family vacations they took so that they could have adventures and make memories together. And those young men who looked as if they would someday set the world on fire. When I read about them I realized that, in fact, had already started to. The faces in the pictures I have seen looked so happy. They looked like so many families I know. They looked like us.
My cousin asked me what happens when an entire family dies together; who is left to do the things which must now be done? She commented, “Think about all the things you leave in the house for when you get back and then that’s it.” I knew what she meant; so much left unfinished. I told her I read about a sister and grandparents. I really had no answers.
I heard there was another family who perished in the crash. The family of four, a mom and dad and their teenage son, were from Florida. I have received private messages from people who were connected to them as well. I find it incredible how closely intertwined we all are.
I had joked about how I no longer make any New Year’s resolutions; that they are kind of silly and don’t really stick anyway. However, in the wake of this tragedy, I resolve to always remember the fragility of life. It’s the most important resolution I can think of.
Wishing all of you only the best in the year ahead.