Sometimes the universe is just manifestly unfair. Although there is a certain solace to be had in that - how nightmarish would it be if we truly deserved the horrors the universe visits upon us? - it still hurts.

I watch, vicariously, via my mother, as my grandfather's identity slips away from him, day by day. Why should this be happening to him, of all people? He's not a bad person, he's a hero. In World War II, his unit saved the lives of hundreds of Jews and Roma, and potentially hundreds of Russians, as well. He raised my mother and aunts to be hard-working, honest, kind people - the kind I'm proud and honored to call family. I will concede that he can sometimes be a crotchety, irascible old fart - even before he got old - but then, who doesn't have bugs?

Of late he's having flashbacks, dreaming that the Nazis have come back. Part of me wants to just dismiss it as a dying man's delusions. But another part of me wants to go to him, dressed in my full dress blues, and tell him that I now have the watch and he can at last stand easy.

He doesn't deserve this. Nobody does, truly, but especially not him. It's in my mother's genes, too, and she sure as hell doesn't deserve it. There ain't no justice.

In Haiti, thousands of people are suffering in the aftermath of a random stroke of plate tectonics. There ain't no justice.

In Ethiopia and Lebanon, people mourn those killed in the recent plane crash. Nobody asked for that. There ain't no justice.

My good friend's mother died not six weeks after he first moved away from home. He hadn't found his feet yet, and her life was just beginning to turn around after 25 years of drugs, alcohol, poverty and futile work. There ain't no justice.

And now it comes to light that here in our midst, one of our own has been forced to make a choice that no one alive should ever have to. I'm at a loss for words. What can one even say in a case like this? I cried just to learn of it. There ain't no justice. Not this time, at least.

But the Earth keeps turning, and in the heart of the Sun, hydrogen still fuses to helium, bathing us with warmth. Bad things happen, in this strange universe of ours, and sometimes they happen to good people. But it can't be dark all of the time. It just bloody can't.

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