A very small girl watched water circles form as the stone she’d thrown made its zinging journey across the surface of a small pond. And then the stone disappeared in a blink, sinking away. The girl asked to throw the stone again. Her mother quietly handed her another stone. The girl shook her head, “No.” The girl pointed to the place in the pond where first stone sunk. Her mother said, “No.” The child burst into tears.

In another country, the child’s father sat in a helicopter that skimmed across the sky, suddenly burst into flames and fell from the sky.

Both the stone and plane fell at the exact same time.

The little girl could not comprehend where the stone or the plane had gone. She only knew that each was unique and she wanted them both back. A substitute would not do. But when she asked her mother, “Where?” her mother always replied, “I don’t know.”

When the girl grew old, she knew that life goes on. But she never understood why it could also be lost. The stone and her father were somewhere, but she didn’t know where.

This is inspired by the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others: John Altobelli, his wife Keri and his daughter Alyssa; Christina Mauser, a parent and an assistant girls basketball coach; Payton Chester and her mother, Sarah Chester; and the pilot of the helicopter, Ara Zobayan.

Lou Finley lives in Santa Fe.

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