Rachel "Sparks" Blackman (seattlesparks) wrote,
Rachel "Sparks" Blackman

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Loss and pain

Today, I finally heard my friend Toby's fate. It reads like something out of a bad movie, out of a bad novel.... his roommate, a volunteer firefighter who was helping at the wreckage of the World Trade Center, was on the team that found Toby's body. He took the rest of the day off to calm down, but he took the time to pass along an e-mail to everyone who had asked about Toby.

It appears he didn't die in the fall, but his arm was nearly severed by the debris and he evidently died of blood loss. It's... I can't even imagine. I know his roommate had to get it out, cathartically, so that the rest of us understood his sheer horror, but... I almost wish I didn't know those details. That I could imagine that it ended quick and painlessly, instead of picturing this wonderful, helpful good person, trapped in a living hell... running out of air and feeling his life slip away.

Toby served on the Peace Corps, he helped out people around the world, trying to better their lives. He was a role model... he tried to be there for everyone, whoever needed a sympathetic ear or a helping hand. I respected him and admired him more than I have words for, even if we hadn't been close since he moved to New York and only exchanged an e-mail every few months catching up with each other.

I can't believe that such a good person lost their life in such a senseless and horrible way.

I sat at work, reading the e-mail, trying to disbelieve. Wishing it would vanish, that this was all a nightmare. And then my co-worker mentioned that he had learned that his friend Anna had been on flight 11, and he was going to take off for the afternoon because he just wasn't going to be able to focus. It was the final straw; I broke.

I curled up in my desk chair and sobbed. My co-worker came over and put an arm around me, and suggested I go for a walk with him. We walked along the waterfront, talking between my heaving sobs. Finally, I reduced to sniffles, and then angry questioning of why. But by the time I got back to the office, I felt at least a little better.

I wish I knew some way to honor Toby's memory, but lacking that... all I can say is goodbye.

You will be missed so badly, and I only hope that wherever you are, you know that. Godspeed, my friend.
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