Monday, March 9, 2015

The Fragility of Life

Once you've been in space, you appreciate how small and fragile the Earth is. 
~Valentina Tereshkova

My father heard my sister’s unnerving scream while he was watching television.  At the same time, my brother heard her scream at his own house.  They had no idea what had happened, but both were certain it was my older sister's shriek.

My sister had loved horses as much as I love dogs.  She started driving for one of the carriage companies in the city.  She fell in love with the idea and started her own carriage business.  I don’t remember her ever being so happy in her life.

There had been an accident with a carriage and a car in the city.  The horse had to be put down.  My sister was devastated, but she was also upset about keeping her business going.  Every day, she worked long and hard into the night, trying to keep up with her business, the horses and her family.
Late at night on the Sugar Factory Road near her home, she and her husband were training a replacement horse using a small, handmade cart (basically a bench seat with two wheels).  A young man got off work and hit their cart.  My sister was killed instantly and my brother-in-law injured.  My sister was thirty-eight-years-old and had four children. They placed the time of death at the same time by father and brother had heard her eerie scream.

I am sure we were all in shock, but we were also filled with remorse.  Although my parents supported my sister’s business and did all they could to help, the strains of her load had caused a rift between us all. We had spoken very little to her in months.

It’s hard to remember the exact details of the night she died.  The funeral home staff had refused to let us see her, but my father insisted.  I think we drove to the place in silence.  Mom kept breaking into sobs.  My brother stared at the rode as he drove, his teeth clenched.  Dad’s shoulders curled over his chest and he fought his quivering chin.  One trembling hand covered my other sister’s mouth and her other cold hand rested in mine. My stomach felt as hard as a rock, my eyes gritty.

No matter how shocking it was to see her lying there injured, it was more of a shock for all of us at the viewing.  My sister was a natural beauty.  She wore little makeup, had beautiful full lips, and naturally straight blond hair.  They had put tons of makeup on her and over-curled her hair.  We didn’t recognize her, but could say little.

The months and years ahead were difficult. My parents carried their distress from lost opportunities with her to their graves.  My heart breaks for the remorse they felt and what they went through from her loss.

One never knows what lies in store, what can never be undone, or just how fragile life can be.

Cindy A. Christiansen
Sweet Romance, Humor, Suspense...and Dogs!
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Copyright of dog in space image: / 123RF Stock Photo

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