Everybody knows everybody here, so a drowning brings out all the neighbors

A steady line of cars has come and gone at the house across the road where the parents of the 34-year-old man who drowned in a nearby lake yesterday live. The son died on his father’s birthday and his daughter-in-law’s child’s birthday.

Lake Allatoona, GA.

We don’t know them well, but well enough to know the news and that the family gathered at the son’s house last night and told stories into the night.

Now, nothing will never be the same. Those who remain seem to bear the brunt of a family member’s death, for they are still here and have to cope with it, settle all that needs to be settled–his house, his company, his will, all he left behind.

I cannot imagine a parent celebrating his/her own birthday again with this tragedy inscribed on the date. My brother and his wife lost their son to suicide and they make sure they are never home on that sad anniversary. Our neighbors might end up doing the same thing, avoiding everything that reminds them of yesterday afternoon.

As weekends go, the Labor Day weekend holds its share of accidents and other tragedies. For the most part, we don’t know those whom we lost. Today, I know his name and his parents’ names. He was a great guy, folks are saying, and I don’t doubt them. I didn’t know him but I think it’s sad that he’s gone. I worry about his family most of all and how they will move forward. I hope they can.

–Malcolm