We heard the sirens during the band booster meeting we were attending. We went to bed fairly certain that once again kids in our community were facing tragedy. We woke this morning to find that was indeed the case, to learn their names, and to know a man had lost his life in the accident.

Netter and the girls usually leave about an  hour before I do in the mornings. They always come in and kiss me goodbye. We tell each other “love you, have a good day, see you later,” and such and then I fall back to sleep grateful I still have that hour or so.

Today that didn’t happen. I could tell as Netter leaned down to kiss me that something was amiss, something was different. So, I asked  her.

“Nothing,” she said: “Well not nothing um, the kids that were in the accident. Well, we know who it was.”

I sat up a little and asked who and she told me their names. I didn’t know any of them personally. One of their parents were friends of friends. I’d done some computer work for them. Dad had played in Golf for Joy one year. Mom and I are Facebook friends. Acquaintances. Still, I could feel it in my gut.

Netter assured me she had talked with the girls and they were okay. We said goodbye with extra emphasis on the “see you later,” (because I believe that makes it so) and I lay back down in bed.

I didn’t fall back asleep this time though. I got up to call Mulligan to help comfort me, and darned if that dog wasn’t standing outside the door waiting for me to let him in. His sensitivity still amazes me. I’ve no idea how he does it.

Mulligan and I laid in bed snuggling, and I dozed a bit, but mostly I just thought of those boys and the accident, of the multitude of things I have done behind the wheel of a car in my lifetime that could have landed me in  jail, or the hospital, or yes, even the morgue, and how many times presently that  I am afraid of driving, afraid I’ve used up all my chances.

I thought about K, who is in the process of taking driving lessons, but not very eager to finish her in car session, and how I might be okay with that... Now.

I thought about D who declared recently that she never wanted to drive and Netter who waited until she was 25 to get her license, and how that might not be such a bad idea for the girls.

Then I rolled over, picked up my phone and read a text I received from our friends of the friends telling me about the boy in the hospital, knowing I would want to know.

I got ready and came to work and went online to read the articles, and watch the slide show and the video about the accident, and unfortunately began reading the comments after those articles.

Apparently only a few of those folks were ever teenagers who ever did anything wrong, and didn’t understand that a car is essentially a 2 - 3 thousand pound missile just waiting to go off. I know I didn’t. I thought I was invincible. But the adults in the comments section have apparently always been sensible, and well mostly judgmental and yes, it pisses me off.

So I stopped reading those comments and checked on the status of our young friend who is still in the hospital and sat down to write, mostly because it helps me collect my thoughts and find calm.

There were mistakes made in judgment. There was at least one child who will have to live with the consequences of his actions for the rest of his life. There was the  tragic loss of a young father, only 31 and there was once again, the unfair, unexplainable, and seemingly random happening that makes us ask “why?”

Nobody really has any good answers. All we can do is make this a lesson, and remind ourselves that each second, each minute, each hour, every day, and every year is not to be taken for granted.

Throw up a prayer, look up, sideways, around, whatever you do to send good mojo and thoughts to the young men involved, to the family of the man whose life is gone, to all involved, and all affected...

That they may find peace.