Maybe it is a vestige of childhood. But when May approaches, something in me stirs. The anticipation of long days filled with warmth and sunlight. A time when each morning of the season holds out the possibility of a new adventure.
And yet, it is an illusion, as this summer has cruelly reminded me.
Three people in their early twenties, who are either connected to my life or connected to the lives of those I love, have died.
Accidental overdoses claimed two young men. A young woman perished in a traffic accident while visiting Vietnam less than two months after her college graduation; only days after her 21st birthday.
It is a summer of shattered parents.
On the day a child is born, all parents pray that they will be lucky enough to leave this world before their offspring. It is a prayer that parents repeat each time their child reaches a new milestone like riding a bike or driving a car. And yet these parents are the ones whose prayers were left unanswered.
It is a summer of memorials.
There are pictures of young people in happier time shared by grieving friends and family on Facebook and Instagram. There are collages of photos arranged on poster boards displayed at wakes. These are the images that highlight family vacations, homecoming dances and childhood birthday parties.
It is a summer interrupted by sorrow.
I have no words of wisdom. Nor do I have words of solace or comfort. What I have is Joan Didion’s opening lines from The Year of Magical Thinking:
Life changes fast.
Life changes in the instant.
You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends.