Life, it moves on

Today, 9/11, would’ve been tinged with sadness anyway. An undercurrent of heaviness lingering in the back of our minds and hearts on a pristine, blue-skied day, much like that one we remember all too well. (Some of the heartache we share from that day mirrors one another’s, yet some of it is unique. Specific to our individual experience. My memories from that week: unfortunately, forever intertwined with another loss, another layer thrown atop the unspeakable grief.)

But then, today, many years later, I went for a run. And I rejoiced that my knee, knock on wood, wasn’t feeling nearly as creaky or crunchy as it has in recent months. And I soaked in the sun’s rays. The azure above. The crispness around. The aromas of rich chocolate and bitter coffee that permeate my neighborhood.

And I ran to the bridge, ready to cross, until I saw the ambulance lights, and I halted. A rescue boat below was hard at work–divers strapping on scuba gear, a drenched and barefoot man looking desperate and defeated on the boat deck. I gradually assembled the puzzle pieces; my brain sorted through the morose scene. “Was it here that he jumped or over there?” one diver shouted up, resignation already weighing down his voice.

They found him, the jumper, but it appears they were too late. I watched as they pulled his limp body from the water. I felt heartsick, revolted, yet all at once unable to peel my eyes away. I stood there, still gawking, captivated, and I called my brother. I don’t know why. He was in bed with the flu; he didn’t want to talk. I don’t blame him. He doesn’t feel good, and it clearly wasn’t ideal timing for me to chat. It was pure reflex to call, really. Sometimes we cannot bear to be alone, to feel alone, in these moments that are just too big.

So I continued on with my run, shaken, yet buoyed by the beauty of the day (and the obedience and strength of my legs). When I came back across the bridge half an hour later, all traces of the earlier scene had eerily vanished. No ambulances, no rescue boat, no horrified, curious onlookers. The water below looked lovely and still. The mountain peaks stood majestic in the backdrop. A friendly foot passenger smiled as we crossed paths.

A new stream of bikers and joggers filled the lane–people chatting, lost in thought, preoccupied, oblivious to the horrid events that had happened at this exact spot not even thirty minutes prior. Someone had jumped. A family somewhere had lost a son, a brother, a nephew, a friend. Why had he given up? Did he mean to do it? What possibly could have made him believe that life was no longer worth living??

And yet, on this bridge, life had moved on. In that moment, I felt, really felt, the fleetingness of it all.

Brutal. Beautiful. To borrow Glennon’s word again-brutiful.


Tonight, I had a great time with a friend at a decadent, over-the-top boat show. We sipped wine, nibbled shrimp cocktail and cheese & crackers, and played around on yachts we could likely never in this lifetime afford (and frankly, we decided, we’re not sure we’d ever want to afford. Instead, please give me a modest sailboat, some hearty, jovial sailing companions, sun-kissed cheeks and a wild, wind-tousled mane.).

The sunset, as you can see, was brilliant. Cloudless, pastels, translucent, the kind that steals away your breath.

This world can be funny–a confusing, conflicting, beautiful/brutal, brutiful dichotomy.

We don’t forget. Ever. (We can’t, even if we try.) But life, it does move on.


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. emcool
    Sep 12, 2012 @ 06:02:04

    A beautifully written recap! Reading your eloquent words, I felt like I was with you in every moment of your *brutiful* day. It is true that life moves on, even from the most tragic events. Thanks for sharing your story!


  2. Funnelcloud Rachel
    Sep 12, 2012 @ 06:17:35

    Oh my gosh, Corinne. I have no words. Beautiful writing.


  3. meghann
    Sep 12, 2012 @ 10:15:07

    Lovely 🙂


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