Tragedy or Gift?

The morning sunshine filled the room, and streaks of yellow cascaded through the window and illuminated the cheery checkered tablecloth.  I had always enjoyed the freshness of a new day……hope filled promise emanated from the glow.

 

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As I rubbed my sleep etched eyes, and waited for the coffee to finish percolating…I gingerly tiptoed to her bedroom door, and strained my ears to listen for her first sounds that would greet me.  It was silent….

 

As with so many times before, I couldn’t help but wonder if this would be the last time?  Always, within  moments of opening my eyes, the question of whether she had lived through the night would greet me like   a force field of solid rock.  There was no way to get around this.  This was my reality.

The ache in my heart threatened to overtake me as I wrestled with the images that often played upon my being.  Would I be destroyed or relieved to find she had breathed her last, and I hadn’t witnessed it, I did not know.

The frailty of life was ever present in our household.  I think all of us here were aware of this possibility, and yet we seldom gave it  audible lip service, because it was just too painful.

 

There seems to be a hope and a resilience in the fresh few moments of a new day.

I know that some of us seem to be “morning” people, and some decidedly, are just not.  I’ve become so grateful in my life that I am one of those who greet the day thinking that this is the day I will change, I will overcome.  The diet that I have vowed to start today, will not be screwed up by lunch, when my willpower flew out the window, as my stomach screamed for more than just a hard boiled egg and spinach.

Feed Me…it demanded!  Don’t just give me this bland stuff, I want carbs..where is the salt and sugar you made me crave?   I must have it, and you will give it to me now!

So many things seem to vie for my attention.  It can be woefully distracting to live this life, and if one isn’t careful, the beautiful and most evocative things can be passed by while we were busy living through the commercials,  oblivious to the exquisite moment that we are presently in.

Ah..to be present in each day…this is the gift.

My mind plays over my daughters’ life in this way.  There are so many compelling and incredible smiling memories of her that I have, and yet there is the raw, ripping sorrow of what could never be for her on this earth, that coils it’s cobra like body around my heart.

 

It seems like loss is black and white…there is no grey..at least not yet.  Maybe it will come..This week is Month 7..Where oh where are you my beloved girl?  The silence of you gone deafens my being..

I watched a video the other day on Facebook, of a sweet boy who wore a contraption, attached to his father, that helped him to stand up.  The look of happiness on his little face captivated me.  When I clicked on the sound, I could  not believe it.  He had Bianca’s laugh.  I couldn’t even stand it…How I missed that sound.. I have watched it several times since then…to me it is so powerful.

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She is frozen in time for me at the age of 17.  As the ABBA song “Dancing Queen” says…”She is the dancing queen, young and sweet, only seventeen.”  Was her life a tragedy or a gift?  I suppose it depends on who you ask?  You could probably guess my answer.  I was her Mother.  I was given a front row seat to her life.  I was involved.  I knew every nuance of this little person….or so so I think.

The incredible thing I am  realizing is that when you have never had even one conversation with a person, you tend to guess a lot, about what that person is thinking..  It’s very possible that I guessed incorrectly about her thoughts.  I could read so much through her eye contact…it was wicked powerful to communicate in this fashion.

There were so many things that she couldn’t do.  It was obvious as she sat in her chair, or laid  upon her bed, unable to sit up, crawl, walk or talk.  From an outsiders’ perspective, it may seem like this life, her life, didn’t count for much, and wasn’t a life well lived.

But what defines a “well lived life?”  This is a thought provoking question.

Our world gives us many crazy images of what it means to have lived well.  Some think that beauty, physical perfection, monetary gain, friendships, success, and multiple other “pie in the sky” traits define this elusive “life well lived.”

Perhaps I sound cynical here, but bear with me a moment.  If these characteristics are really true, why does it seem that those who achieve these goals, and in general, seem to have it all, seem, well ..not that happy.

There seems a huge disconnect between these things and joy.  I just don’t get it.  Why do people run after these things and then find themselves so dissatisfied with their lives?

Could it be because these things without love are just vapor?  Empty, see through zip locked bags of nothingness.

Is it possible that the cuts, the marks, the scars, the imperfections are those things that are truly divine?  Doesn’t this say, I have been here,I have loved, I have been hurt, but  even if you don’t remember me, I did not just let life pass me by.  I wasn’t afraid to be marked, to let the real “Me” show.  I did not hide.

I want to continue to dig in, to go to places, and meet people that many have passed by..I want to know them …..These ones have great stories.  They have lived many lives.  This is interesting, this is the good and messy stuff…I want this.

To live life well I do not think has anything to do with a persons’ age or ability, or stature in life.  I’ve talked with quite a few who have loved and lost, and am always amazed that what stands the test of time is love.   This is all that remains.

Did the person love well?  Did they exude this from their countenance?  Were you drawn to them?

If, to be around them you felt better and fulfilled, and more joyful, then I think you can answer that this  person is living life well.  To show kindness to another, just through a smile, a twinkling eye, lets them know you notice them, that they matter.

 

I have noticed that some peoples’ lives are filled with difficulty, pain, and often poverty, but they seem often to overcome these obstacles by giving so much to those around them, through the gift of their love, the giving if themselves, their all.

We are drawn  to them inexplicably.  It is perhaps their purity of heart, their simplicity, that makes us whole, at our core.

Living this life is challenging, to say the least, but learning to live it well, even more so.  Bianca taught me, through her gentle ways what is truly important.  Love really is it.  Forgiving each other of our faults, and grievances, pressing forward, when the will to go on is not there, that is what gives our lives meaning.

 

Making a difference in even one more life, other than your own, truly sets your soul at ease, gives it breath, renews it.

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It seems so cliche to say that “life is a gift,” and “it’s the moments that take your breath away,” but maybe it’s just not in missing the sacred seconds, the brief experience of living with another, and sharing in their life experience that really “gifts” you.

You become changed…lightened…when you allow the life of a loved one to transform and change you for  the better.  When they leave your life, you need to know that they left..it is important…they were important.

 

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