There are some things in life I don’t understand. This is one of them.

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
Take away
What’s standing in front of me
Every breath,
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.

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20 responses to “There are some things in life I don’t understand. This is one of them.

  1. Oh Michele. Hugs to you and Dave. I too have dealt with a few deaths the past few weeks. One of which hit home, me now being a mom and I never can understand it. I too ask the same question as you. I wrote a blog post as well to just kind of get it out of my system. It’s just how I deal with things, as you. Hang in there, and again I send you both hugs.

  2. It’s so maddening when we lose such great people way too soon. I appreciate your honesty and raw emotion throughout the post. And it is a beautiful song. Love you.

  3. I’m sorry to hear about your friends passing. It’s always tough and you never get over it no matter how much time passes. I’m also sorry to hear about the tumor on your lung. Is it inoperable? We have got something in common here, your tumor is on your lung, my tumor is in my head. I have only told one person about this outside of my family because I trusted him. Your courage to tell us about it has given me courage. Thank you & many hugs.

  4. I love that song too, I’m not a huge fan of her music but this song spoke to me from the first play.
    and I am in the middle of loss (as you know) right now, so every word of this post I felt with you.

    Hope you made that appointment and I’m just so glad you are here and okay with us now. SO very glad.

  5. You capture perfectly that sense of helplessness that comes of not being able to make sense of things in this life. I know things happen that are beyond my understanding, but that doesn’t mean I am ever able to slip easily into acceptance of that fact.

  6. Ugh, I cringe when I think about the future that’s laid before us and all of the possible things that could go wrong. That is so sad to hear to Dads in your community have been lost. It really does have a way of making us consider our own mortality.

  7. Great, great post. Really made me think… and appreciate the here and now.

  8. I’m so sorry to hear about your recent losses. It’s heartbreaking when people in our lives pass away, but when it’s sudden it really effects me in this way too. It’s just so terrifying to really think about the fact that people can be here one day and gone the next. It’s especially sad to think about the children who lose their parents, and that thought is just too much for me to handle. I think your reaction to the tumor was natural because I think many of us have to be strong and positive. My best friend had a brain tumor this last summer and seemed so unworried about it that I couldn’t believe it. I just kept thinking about her kids and was internally panicking and wondering how she could be so sure. Thank goodness she came out fine and recovered from the brain surgery amazingly fast. It really makes us realize how we aren’t invincible… I will pray for your family and the families of your friends that passed.

    As for your cold, have you tried elderberry? I used to get sick all the time and my colds would last forever, but I swear elderberry cuts the cold time in half and I hardly ever get sick now. And I teach preschool, so I’m around lots of colds and bugs…. Hope you are feeling better soon darling. ((hugs)).

  9. That’s so sad when young people pass away. So many people will be missing them.

    I feel your pain with being sick. I went to the doctor yesterday and found out I have a double ear infection.

    • Oh, you poor thing. Ear infections are the worst. If you have a desk lamp (the old fashioned kind with a flexible neck), you can use it to ease your pain. Think of it like a concentrated heating pad. Turn it on and angle its heat-generating bulb directly into your ear hole. (Didn’t really know how else to say that). Once your inner ear starts to heat up from the bulb’s radiating heat, you should actually start to feel some relief.

      I know it sounds crazy but I was plagued with these problems in college and this option was often better than drugs because it was immediate. Feel better soon. And thanks for writing.

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