I pulled up to my parking spot and saw my co-worker do the same. Her car door opened and music blared out. She stepped out in high-heeled pumps, fingers snapping and held above her head. Erasure sang "Chains of Love" with the off-key and off-beat beeping reminder of the car key in ignition. She danced in a little circle and smiled. I stood in the sunshine and laughed. Hope I am that carefree when I am her age, I thought. Hope I still listen to the end of the song and feel unembarrassed to break in a little dance.
The carefree and fun moment stuck in my mind when I saw her pull up to her parking place a week later and slump over her steering wheel in heaving sobs. Just days after the parking lot floor show, her son died in a tragic drug binge induced pedestrian hit and run.
She danced and later she sobbed on the very same pavement.
That was 14 years ago.
Last month, I saw long lost friends on the evening of their oldest child's senior prom. My friends were older but still smiling and beautiful. Married for close to 20 years, I could tell they were still in love. Sipping on a drive thru daiquiri, she pointed out her pretty daughter. We laughed and remininsced for a few minutes. Then they walked across the lawn to take photos.
Today, they buried their 17 year old son. He fell asleep while driving.
I thought about how happy and beautiful his parents were last month. And I thought of my co-worker 14 years ago.
And I remembered the sermon my pastor once shared with the words that will make a happy man sad and sad man happy:
This too shall pass
It get worse.
It gets better.
Enjoy the hell out of the better before it gets worse. Dance to it. Crank it until it blows your mother fucking speakers. Smile until it makes little crinkles around your eyes.