Spitting Nails


I just received word that a young woman I know, Rebecca Gore, has died in a one-car crash.  A tire blew, flipping her truck and ejecting her from the vehicle.  Becca was 19, a college student interested in devoting her life to helping others survive tragedy.  She was beautiful, intelligent, funny, and very much in love with my adopted son Jake, who wanted to marry her.

And I am angry.

At Fate.  At poor tire manufacturing that causes things like this to occur.  At the roll of the dice that decided Becca’s time was up.

At God.

That’ll shock a lot of people and dismay others.  I’ll get lectured on it.  When my niece Leslie was dying of Cystic Fibrosis, the young Catholic priest in attendance told me that it was okay to be angry with God; that God has broad shoulders and can handle that anger.

Who gives a rat’s ass?

How about the shoulders of Becca’s family, bowed by this tragedy?  How about Jake, whose grief is hours old, his heart broken?  How about the rest of us, stumbling about absolutely stunned that this vibrant, wonderful young  person is — suddenly — so much worm food?

This is wrong.  There’s no other word for it.  I want an explanation.

My father is 93 years old.  For the past twenty years or more, he has been waiting for death, ready for it, ready to go.  Even when he was healthy, he said he was ready to go, he was done.  Here’s a man with obesity, congestive heart failure, diabetes, bad knees, sores that refuse to heal, who is READY to die, but he lives on and it’s Becca who is taken.

Don’t anyone tell me that the world makes sense.  I just don’t have that kind of faith.




About Melissa Crandall

Longer ago than I care to admit--although I will--I cut my writing teeth on fanzines and media tie-in novels. Since then, I've moved on to narrative nonfiction, speculative fiction, and essays. I write to explore and understand the world around me, the things I see and experience nearby or from a distance. If I shake myself up, cool. If I shake you up, even better. Not gratuitously--what's the point in that?--but to set what I know, or think I know, on end and realize, "Well, doesn't it look different from this side!" My work is neither sexually explicit nor graphically violent. Let's face it - your imaginations will come up with things far worse than anything I could write, no matter how descriptive. Besides, it's just not my thing. I live in Connecticut with my supportive husband Ed, a cat named Ruby who might just think she's a dog, and an epileptic Australian shepherd named Holly who isn't quite certain anymore who she is, except she knows she loves her mommy.
This entry was posted in Anger, Connecticut, death, dying, Grief, Loss, love, Melissa Crandall, Rage, Writer, Writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Spitting Nails

  1. Hi Melissa, As I read your post, a favorite piece of dialogue from the movie Zorba the Greek, based on a novel by Katzantsakis, came to mind. I hope you find it relevant.

    Zorba: Why do the young die? Why does anybody die?
    Basil: I don’t know.
    Zorba: What’s the use of all your damn books? If they don’t tell you that, what the hell do they tell you?
    Basil: They tell me about the agony of men who can’t answer questions like yours.
    Zorba: I spit on their agony.

  2. Becky Graham says:

    Missy, I don’t pretend to have any answers because I don’t. I ask why all the time, why did my precious mother die too soon? Why did my amazing brother barely live to see 60? Why did my husbands only child die just shy of his 21st birthday? Why? There are no answers, I do believe that God has his reasons, they don’t make any sense to man and never will I guess.
    I know when Richard died, Uncle Paul Sherman said he didn’t understand why such a young man, a good man, should be taken and an old codger like him was still here. Wasn’t fair he said.
    My heart goes out to your family and to her family, I cannot begin to know the pain you must be suffering. Just know I love you.

    • Thank you, Beck. It’s Becca’s family and my dear Jake I feel the most heartbreak for. We were fortunate to meet Becca, but only once. Still I found her to be an extraordinary young woman — bright, gifted, funny, intelligent, warm-hearted. This is a tragedy on many levels.

  3. I’m with you on this one, Melissa, except I don’t think there are answers. To me this is the evidence for NO “higher being”. How could anyone believe in a god who’d let the rot of this world roam free while taking those who’d do “his work”. What “good god” would send tornados to plow down believer’s homes while fat cats suck health care dollars out for mansions? No answers, – It has to a crap-shoot.

    • My sister said much the same as you when her daughter Leslie died. At that point, she did not believe in God (still doesn’t). Mark Twain said that God was a malign thug. I dunno. Maybe the problem is that we want to view a higher being through the lens of being human — and that ultimately cannot work. We want a higher being or higher creative force to behave in understandable ways, but that may be outside their purview. We cannot judge God/dess on human terms, yet that is how we sell religion and then, ultimately, people are disillusioned.

  4. I understand your pain and anguish. We have to find our own path to peace in any situation. When our 14 yr. old daughter passed last year, I had to come to terms with Gods allowance of these permanent acts and know that He was not the cause. It is a different road for us now.

    Thanks for your honesty.

    God bless,

    • Michael, thank you for writing and for your honesty. I’m so sorry to hear about your daughter. I think you’ve made an important point — balancing the idea of things being “allowed” by God, but not caused by him. That idea will stick sideways in people’s minds — if He allows the act, can he not cause/control it as well? Human minds cannot understand the infinite. As you say, one must find their own path to peace. I am glad you have found yours and I wish you well.

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