A father should never have to bury his son. But, thanks to a fall down a flight of stairs at home, with resulting brain trauma, someone in my high school graduating class had to do that earlier this week.
His son, a beloved gym teacher in Queens, was 39. He left a pregnant wife and a young son.
His friends and family wonder "why?"
A life cut short is tragic. We all mourn the death of a young person, the death of a child preceding the death of his or her parents, because it is not part of the "natural order of things".
But now, let's fast forward some 50 years.
In a normal week, I probably would have blogged instead about Bob Barker, the long time host of the American game show The Price is Right. Barker, now 91, tripped and fell outside his home and hit his head on the sidewalk. Two police officers happened to be passing by and witnessed the fall. They called an ambulance, so he got immediate help.
I remember Bob Barker so well on The Price is Right. He hosted the show for 35 years, into his 80's.
People would say "he was old, people fall when they are old and it is the natural order of things". Bob Barker cut his head and hurt his knee. It remains to see if this injury impacts the remainder of his life. It so easily could have been a brain injury, too.
It is never the natural order of things to fall. At 39, at 91, it is equally tragic.
Do not ever minimize the power of a fall. It is an equal opportunity killer.
Education is the first step.