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Loss blurs answers about life

Nov. 4, 2005

by JOSH HORTON, editor in chief

In one episode of super-comedy Seinfeld, Kramer noted while wandering around in a parking garage, looking for Jerry's car, that people with terminal illnesses believe the key to life is really living every moment.

To which George replied, "Yeah, yeah. I've heard that. Meanwhile I'm here with you in a parking garage. What am I supposed to do?"

It's absurd, but that sequence is oddly representative of how we really deal with death.

University Baptist Church pastor Kyle Lake's death Sunday brought that into piercing focus.

At this stage of life, most of us aren't thinking about death, unless we're fighting a war in the Middle East. If we're smart, we're making decisions that will affect the next 50 years of our lives. That's why losses like that are so jarring.

One of my best friends was in a nasty car accident a couple of years ago. She was driving and hit a patch of gravel in the road. A girl in the middle of the back seat, who wasn't wearing a seatbelt, flew through the windshield and died.

For the next few chaotic days and weeks, nearly the whole town came to check on my friend. They got her food. They did her laundry. They watched as she pulled chunks of glass out of her scalp. But in a few months, after everybody else had moved on, she was still pulling shards out of her shattered psyche.

That's what we forget. There's a certain self-satisfaction in helping people who just suffered loss. But it's the six months later. The year later. The point when shock and grief quit and depression and bitterness take over.

Every time someone close to us dies, the Kramer in us makes us believe we'll really start living every moment. Read that book we've been putting off. Go running every once in a while to drop the Freshman 15 we've been fighting for three years. Tell the people we care about that we love them more often.

But inevitably, the George in us clears its throat and asks how we're going to find the car.

The question then becomes, "What's next?" The answer? Not spend the rest of our lives in the parking garage.

Editor in chief Josh Horton is a senior journalism major from Lorena.