On the day before Mothers' Day, a family went to the beach. After returning home, some rocks the children picked up, that the mother had absentmindedly put in her pocket, spontaneously combusted. The phosporus they were coated with burned holes through their mother's shorts, into her thigh and eventually the kitchen floor.
What do you do in light of such an unexpected shock? What you're prepared to do: beat out flames. Stop, drop and roll. Strip out of burning clothes. Apply water. Most importantly: Call for help! In an emergency, the entire world shrinks down to that instant, that place.
Who knows what combustible rocks look like? There's no better time than a lazy Sunday morning to find out, if they're washing up on a beach! And so that's exactly what I was doing - geeking out on photos of tungstenites, uranium and phosphorus, when a bandmate of my husband posts to Facebook that he found his neighbor and friend of the band, Greg Frain, dead in his apartment.
Our pal is a veteran who suffers PTSD and is in recovery. What do you do to help a PTSD friend who experiences fresh trauma and bereavement? What you're prepared to do: Drop everything. Close ranks.
Members of the band refused to let him skip the practice scheduled for later that day, and someone was dispatched to gather him up. Others hung around on Facebook and offered messages of support to help him process the experience while waiting for his ride. Then, we brought him over to our house for dinner. He stayed with another friend overnight.
Dinner was a BBQ, and the weather was perfect underneath one of those endless, cloudless, impossibly blue Northern California skies. Our friend had room to wander in and out of our group as he felt, emote or vent as he saw fit. There was laughter, and music, and plenty of distraction. At sunset we lit a candle and toasted our fallen comrade.
Greg Frain was a 24-year Army Veteran who had seen it all as an Army medic in 3 wars: the Gulf, Iraq, Afganistan. Also, the LA riots and Panama. Thank you Greg Frain for your service to our country and for being my friend. RIP brother.
~from Ron Wayland's memorial comments
A full moon rose shortly afterwards, as if to congratulate us for surviving the day and to cheer on our backyard music.
June's full moon was named the Strawberry Moon by Algonquin tribes, who used it to mark the short berry harvesting season. Our own seasons are short, and events like this bring that fact to the fore. Full face, like the moon above. What do you live for? Who do you love?
In the end we only have each other. Who checks on you when you're missed? Who do you check on? Who can you call for help? Who can you offer help to? Please share your story in the comments.