Raw, adjective: 9. disagreeably damp and chilly, as the weather or air

Have you been following this story about the missing San Francisco family that was stranded in Oregon and eventually rescued, only to find the husband's body floating in a creek after he'd gone off to find help?

It's absolutely tragic and I can't seem to get it out of my bones.

Seems like the case has gotten quite a bit of national media coverage, but if you're not familiar with the story, basically a young SF family with two small daughters veered off into a canyon in some rugged terrain and bad weather on their way home from a trip to Oregon the weekend of Thanksgiving. After being stranded in the snow for a week, burning the tires for warmth, etc., the father finally set off in search of help, and the mother and two daughters were rescued by helicopter 9 days after being stranded. His body was found, dead of hypothermia, on Wednesday afternoon. For some reason, I just can't shake the sorrow of this story. The whole city's talking about it; not only was the father a respected and beloved local guy, but people just somehow found themselves highly invested in this sweet little family's hope for a happy ending.

Yesterday I was walking down past the Wharf to run a few errands and noticed that the flag there was half-mast, and teared up all over again. The news coverage was such a rush of joy and fear, especially when the days passed and they still couldn't find the father, knowing that the nights were dipping to 20 degrees and there was increasingly little chance he could've survived. I think the saddest part is knowing that the two little girls, aged 7 mos. and 4 years, will not know or remember their father, outside of a few blurry memories for the older daughter. It's amazing how a routine trip home from the holidays can suddenly change everything. All those Buddhist themes of transience and living in the moment rush into my mind as I try to make sense of this sort of thing; how little we can plan for, and how much of living is knowing that all meetings end in separation, and that, in spite of the tragedy and seeming implausibility of getting lost in the mountains in a country that sometimes seems to be all interstates and cell phone networks and wireless connections, it's still possible to lose everything in a wrong turn.

Sorry for the heaviness; it's been weighing on my mind, and in this holiday season when we're so caught up in sparkles and scents and sights, it's a sobering reminder not to take one single second of it for granted.

Enjoy your weekend, the holiday parties and the snow and the cold. We're getting our first "big storm" of the season tonight - nothing in comparison to what many of you in the middle of the country are getting, but a storm nonetheless. Stay warm, and hug your pets and/or children and/or live-in mistresses.

Comments

Heidi said…
Such a good reminder Rach. I am already missing you tonight...
Matt said…
In a similar vein, I've been getting all teared up reading http://www.atomictumor.com/ for the last few weeks. It's a website that a guy put together that he and his wife and friends posted random stuff to, just one blog among many.

On Halloween, his wife wasn't feeling well; by mid-November she was dead. 29 years old. 2 little boys. The toughest part was that I came in just after she had already died, and went back and read some of the very hopeful posts by her husband after I already knew the outcome, the ones that said things like "she looks like she'll wake up any day now" and "she murmured a bit in her sleep, it's a good sign!" Tragic shit.
shady said…
if you come from nerd country, this hits you even harder. this guy could be any husband and father. how he was is who gentlemen strive to be.

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