Sunday was, perhaps, the roughest day of all.
The future was taken from us in the waters off Miami. The past faded away inside the cold, sterile confines of a hospital in Pittsburgh.
Jose Fernandez, 24, a Major League Baseball baseball player whose story of his escape from Cuba, and success at such a young age, caught the eye of sports fans young and old was killed in a boat crash in the wee hours of the morning.
Later that day, the great Arnold Palmer, 87, the man credited with changing how the general public looked at the sport of golf, succumbed while waiting for heart surgery.
The kid and the king.
The year of our Lord — or 2016, as the calendar calls it — has been a tough one.
In a time where the world needs hope, we have people being taken away from us at an alarming rate. What stuns as much as their deaths, though, is the realization of what we’ve lost with each passing.
In the spotlight of our stages, Prince and David Bowie and their artistry could lift us up from the lowest of lows. Our hearts broke when we heard the news — two more days when the music died.
Muhammed Ali was the greatest not just because of what he did in the boxing ring, but the effect he had outside of it, through the rest of the world — a place that has grown especially dark in 2016.
Death after death has rocked the year the 2016, but it is not just those losses that have created darker and sadder times.
Every day, we are seeing innocent people dying by the never-ending wave of culture-created violence in our country.
We claim we’ve had enough, and we step out on the streets to protest. But, when those whose hearts are true and pure and care enough to try to fight back the right way, when they go home, we leave ourselves vulnerable to our lesser side who destroy not just the physical objects in front of them, but the hope of all of us who think somebody we’ll find a better way for us all.
Black lives matter. Blue lives matter. All lives matter.
We are living in a society where nobody matters and, sadly, we prove it every single day in our actions as a society.
We walk down the street staring at our cell phones. Instead of talking to one another, we text. Sit down and visit? Why bother when we can just e-mail and stay home to Netflix and chill.
Until somebody else is loss and then we are shocked.
So, yes, we weep for our losses – for Prince and Bowie and Ali … and even Jose and Arnie … but we must soon start to weep for ourselves.
Once we mourn what we have truly lost, only then can we begin to heal.
And we need to heal.
We have no true leader before us to step up and follow, so we wander, aimlessly, and as the world gets darker it grows harder for us to see our way.
Will it become so dark that we can no longer see our way back? Or the way forward?
There are still three months left in 2016 — one quarter of the year.
Anything is possible.
More people will die — famous, infamous, strangers, friends, family. When we think we can’t be shocked anymore, something will stun us into complete silence.
The world, I fear, will grow darker still.
I do try to find the light and sometimes there it is … in the smile of a child whose life is full of hope … in the embrace of friends and family … in that glimpse of something magical that is there for just a minute and then gone with the next waft of wind.
But that’s not enough.
I need more.
We need more.
Jose Fernandez came to this country full of hope. Arnold Palmer once raised an army and changed an entire sport.
Right now, we need an army of hope to light a path to tomorrow before its too late.