:the quality or state of being easily broken or destroyed
I have recently been reminded of the fragility of life. The most obvious is the recent earthquake in Haiti, which the word devastation doesn’t begin to describe. But besides that, I was informed earlier this week about the death of a family friend. He wasn’t even sick! I don’t feel it’s my place to share the details surrounding his death, but I will say that it’s one of those situations that leaves you thinking, “Did that really happen? There’s just no way. That’s not even fair.”
A great man was laid to rest today. James Armstrong was a member of Pe-Poppy’s church. My family grew up with his family. I grew up with his daughter. My family bowled with them. I JUST saw James on October 31, at my great grandmother’s funeral, and he was FINE! I introduced him to Lee for the first time, and was very proud to do so.
I’m sure James accomplished many things worth mentioning in his life, but to me, his words meant so much. I’m so glad I was able to convey to him, while he was living, how much a deep conversation between us meant to me. James is the reason the lines of communication between Pe-Poppy and me were opened again in 2006. I ran into him in a grocery store on August 7, 2006, and we stood and talked in the aisle for almost an hour (I think I said 2 hours on Twitter – um, yeah, I may be a bit of a drama queen). He was absolutely devastated about what had happened to our family, and even more so about the fact that I had not spoken to Pe-Poppy in over a year at that point because of something that happened the previous summer. James was uninterested. He seemed to fully understand the dynamics, the people involved, and even things I wasn’t aware of, but none of it was relevant, in his opinion, because he also knew (almost better than anyone outside of our family) the kind of relationship I shared with Pe-Poppy. He was there for all of it. All of it. Since the day I was born. During our conversation, he said something I knew, and something I had been telling myself all along, but it didn’t quite click until that day standing in the aisle of the grocery store: “You don’t want to wait until someone dies to say what needs to be said.”
Those words rang in my ear for hours, and I wrote Pe-Poppy a letter that very same day. Every story needs some kind of “conclusion”, so I’ll just say that the relationship between Pe-Poppy and me did change after I wrote that letter. It’s not like it used to be, but we at least talk now. I have always “quietly” thanked James for that push that I needed, and I’m so thankful I got the chance to thank him personally.
RIP, James Armstrong. You were a good man.