Last night my cousin asked me to pray for a 3 year old little girl who was in the battle of her life. Today I learned that her parents, a couple who recently lost their five month old to a congenital issue, have now been dealt the incredibly unfair blow of having to say good bye to her too. Her tiny body couldn't fight off a freak case of bacterial meningitis, something her pediatrician originally wrote off as nothing more than bronchitis.
A woman in my grieving mom's group, a very kind and special and encouraging woman, I learned yesterday, is losing her battle with cancer. Her husband who unfairly had to bury his son, now must prepare to bury her too.
Seems so unfair, doesn't it?
There are a lot of really shitty people in this world. People who hurt and take and think of no one but themselves, and yet, you don't hear about these things happening to them. Why?
You would think that after all a bereaved parent goes through in loving and losing and grieving their beloved children, there would be some sort of free pass. A Get Out Of Heartache Free card. Something along the lines of:
"Your survival through the hell of losing a child entitles you to a life void of any further tragedy."
I guess this just goes to show that what my doctor told me when she diagnosed my infertility is true: "There is no justice in this world."
These stories are tragic. And heartbreaking. They bring tears to our eyes, and prayers for these families' healing to our hearts. We cry out in anger at God and the Universe for allowing such pain to exist. Hearing them sends us down a road of "Oh, what's the point in even trying," but there is another message here too. An eye opening one. One that must not be ignored.
You are still here.
You are still alive.
Don't waste it.
It is so important that we not allow our grief to make us complacent in our living. We must not turn our backs on the day to day joys, no matter how minuscule they seem in comparison to the dark cloud that sorrow has cast over our lives. As tough a task as our circumstances make it, and as small as they feel in contrast to our pain, we must remind ourselves of what blessings we do have, and be grateful, because as these stories so cruelly illustrate, there are no guarantees in this life.
I have gotten into the habit of reminding myself before bed of what I do have. Among other things, this practice helps to calm the anxieties that cause my insomnia, and allows me a more peaceful transition to sleep.
I remind myself that I have my health.
A house to keep me warm.
Food to fill my belly.
A dog who has brought great joy into my life.
A love for writing.
A bed to sleep in.
You get the picture.
I know this may seem a bit odd, especially coming from someone who wrote in her last post that her life is ruined, and believe me when I say that that feeling is genuine, but even I, the girl with the dead kid and blocked tubes, have to remind myself that while my life may feel ruined, while it may feel at my core as if it has been broken beyond repair, I don't know that yet.
My story has not yet been told in its entirety, and I have to believe, even if believing means pushing through indescribable pain and heartache, that there is a possibility things will get better. The opportunity to live each day with the above blessings is proof of that.
Most of you who read here have lost a child, or loved one, or your fertility. You fight your own daily battles, and struggle through your own dark places.
Life, as we have learned, is not fair. Or easy. Or just.
It is just life.
We have each lost so much, far more than any person should have to endure losing, but I guess my point is that we haven't lost everything.
Each time we wake to see another day, draw another breath into our lungs, or allow a sense of love into our hearts; each time we find enough strength within ourselves to laugh through our tears, or feel that we are in the presence of a message or sign from our children; each time we recognize something beautiful in our surroundings, or feel some measure of peace in our souls, no matter how short lived those peaceful moments may be, we have to remind ourselves that in this broken world of no guarantees, each of these moments is a gift not be overlooked or taken for granted, but instead to be celebrated.