I’m sitting outside my daughter’s ballet class watching a room full of girls moving beautifully to Christina Perri’s A Thousand Years. Have you heard it? It’s simply lovely. Give it a listen.
It’s a dreary day in my part of the world. It’s been raining for hours here with more expected this evening. And I’m on day 13, literally, of a nasty cold that (I’m amateurishly diagnosing) has become a sinus infection. I’m not feeling very funny today. I’m a little low and achy but mostly I find my mind drifting, often, to a dark subject.
In the past two weeks, two men (one a friend of Dave’s and one of mine) passed away very suddenly. They were both fathers of kids the same ages as mine. They were both in their 40s. They were both very good men. And I find myself struggling to come to grips with all of it.
I’m no stranger to death. As early as age eight, I witnessed the accidental death of a friend a few years younger than me. And since then, I’ve experienced my share of loss of both family members and friends. It’s always a sad thing. And it’s always something from which we must gather the broken pieces of ourselves and somehow move forward, lending a hand, ear or shoulder to those around us who need it.
Maybe these recent deaths are different for me because I am now a parent. And these are fellow parents. In my circles. There have actually been a few at my children’s school over the years …. a mother who lost her long battle with cancer, another mother who died suddenly in her sleep, a father who was killed in a boating accident and another father who very sadly took his own life. It never makes sense to me. And I’m usually a very firm believer in the whole “Everything happens for a reason” business. (Why did I have to get into that fender bender? Oh, it was to keep me from being in that fatal accident two minutes down the road. Now, I get it.)
Over the years, I’ve known several young people who have been diagnosed with and battled different forms of cancer. Some have won their battles. Some have not. Why do young people, young parents with young children, have to die? What could possibly be the “reason” for that? I have no idea. So, if you’re hoping I will eventually answer that question for you in this post, then you’re going to be very disappointed. Because I’ve got nothing.
All I can take away from it is this. A little over two years ago, a chest x-ray found a tumor on my lung. I don’t know why. I don’t smoke. Nor have I ever lived with anyone who does. But I had one. And while my family and friends secretly worried and tiptoed around me, I stared blankly at my future, absolutely certain I would come out fine on the other side of my surgery. But how could I have been sure? Did I think I was immortal? I guess I hadn’t really learned yet that parents of young children can die. It’s a good thing I was right about my outcome. I was lucky.
I’m praying for all of you who aren’t. And I’m praying for your children, too. I hope to remember this feeling always. And not to waste a minute of my life. It’s a gift.
“I will be brave
I will not let anything
What’s standing in front of me
Every hour has come to this”
C. Perri & D. Hodges
Editor’s Note: Thanks to this blog, I was just reminded that I’m due (overdue) to visit my doctor again to confirm that I’m still good. I think I’ll make that call tomorrow.
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Submitted to MamaKat’s weekly writing prompt asking us to “Talk about a time you got lucky.” I’m not sure if this is exactly how she meant it, but my post references what is easily one of the luckiest moments in my life to date.