Summer Short 10
For Greg

I wonder if there is a biological reason, perhaps one that is coded in our genes, that requires us to experience fully the heavy pain of loss. As experiences – joy, pleasure, triumph, and achievement- are so damn fleeting. But grief, well, grief endures.

And while not all of us will experience certain joys, certain achievements or pleasures in our lifetime, if we live long enough, we will all know loss.

This week, a friend of my late husband’s and myself, known since college, died on a plastic covered twin hospital mattress on life support, heart-breakingly young.

The prognosis was terrible. Actually, worse than terrible. If terrible means there existed a butterfly’s eyelash width of possibility that he might possibly wake up some day fully alert and himself again. From what the doctors said, it was certain he would not. The sweet, funny man with a killer smile and dance moves would only dance again in our memories.

We had been asked to pray for a miracle. The kind of miracle where spontaneous remissions in the face of devastating medical test results, logic, reason and probability occur.

And I did. For miracles do happen. No matter what else you believe about life, you must believe in miracles. Because even though the kind of miracle we prayed for didn’t come to pass, we are all, every one of us, the living breathing embodiment of a miracle.

Consider this.

You, me and every one of us is living on a round rock. That rock spins around and around at almost a quarter of a million miles per hour in an unthinkably vast blackness called space where nothing else like us exists for as far as our telescopic eyes can see.

In this black space, filled with spinning, barren rocks, frozen gas, ice, dust, and radiation, we live on this round rock called Earth, a planet filled with soft, green leaves on trees that allow us to breathe and are filled with birds whose songs are as complicated and nuanced as Beethoven’s greatest sonatas. With little buzzing creatures, who make a sweet delicious nectar of the Gods, and who live within complex structures and societies of their own architecture and creation that rival those of the human beings who run from them in fear of their tiny sting.

With salty oceans where there exists a whole separate world onto itself of billions of creatures too small for the naked eye to see but whose intricate and beautiful habitats can be seen from outer space.

And if that wasn’t enough, despite the wild, endless spinning of our planet and it’s never-ending orbit around the sun, itself a star on fire, when we pour water into a glass… the water stays in the glass! La Bella Luna.

All of these are miracles.

It is simply a miracle that we were born. That Greg was born. That his parents met was a 1 in 20,000 chance, that they stayed together long enough to have children – 1 in 2,000, that the right sperm hit the right egg to create Greg -1 in 400 quadrillion!

What are the odds of all this happening in order for Greg to be born?

Actually they are 1 in 10 to the 2,685,000. (Yes, that’s a 10 followed by 2,685,000 zeroes.)

We take all this existing business entirely for granted. It is easy to forget or not even consider in the first place, not even once, that the fact that we exist at all, that Greg existed at all, is the very definition of a miracle.

That against all odds, of solar winds and burning stars and emptiness that extends for lifetimes, Greg defied explanation and was born. A shining, smiling, dancing bright star in a galaxy filled with blackness and rocks.

Talk about miracles.

That I got to call him friend? A miracle of stratospheric proportions.