Surviving the Storm

I remember when I was a kid my father used to read the obituary pages. It was the first thing he turned to. He'd use the same old tired line — but it always got a chuckle: "Well, I'm not in here today... that's good." And we'd all laugh.

So fixated was he on who died and how he knew the person who died, that he seemed to count his own approaching mortality with friends going and friends gone.

I've been thinking a lot about him with all this hurricane stuff.

I remember the one woman in Florida after Hurricane Frances (search) hit. Her entire mobile home had been destroyed. I mean, demolished. There was nothing left. She seemed oddly calm, even peaceful. She looked like she was in her 70s.

"Everything's gone," she told a reporter. "But my husband's OK... just heard the kids are OK, and the grandkids..."

She trailed off, but nodded, approvingly, as she surveyed the destruction around her.

"Could’ve been worse. A lot worse."

When asked what she was going to do now, she was quick and to the point: "We'll just rebuild. But I got what's important."

She said simply what my dad used to muse reading the obituaries quietly: It’s better to be carrying on, than to have someone else reading about you being carried off.

I remember thinking that sometime back when I read my father's obituary. Then it hits you — as it will hit us all.

Watching the story, then suddenly becoming the story.

We’re grateful for the time we keep dodging the bullets in life. And ruing the one day that we do not.

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