01 October 2012
Maybe I haven't gotten much better at dodging the curves that life has thrown at me over the years...but I can say that I have grown to appreciate them more than I would ever have thought possible. October, my birth month, seems to be a catalyst for joyful, devastating and enlightening changes in my life. As I prepare to embark on yet another "little" project in a couple of weeks, it seems appropriate to take some time over the next few weeks to share a few of the switchbacks that October has brought to my path and some of the lessons I have gleaned from them.
Long ago on October 1, I was a Mom for part of a day. It was a 24 hour period filled with fear, confusion and ultimately grief. There are no words to express the feelings associated with the loss of a child. There was sweet sympathy expressed by friends and family afterwards over the death of our son. One friend touched our hearts, though, when he very insightfully said "you were parents even if only for a short time"...and thus shared with us a celebration of a life, even if it was a terribly short one. The years have eased the hurt and I occasionally wonder what my life would have been had things gone differently. It would be wonderful to have my son beside me...but I truly believe that our paths (his, mine, his father's) were as they should be.
Over time, I have come to believe that we are here to learn how to love one another unconditionally. That means loving...and losing. Trusting...and being betrayed. Holding back...and letting go. Giving your heart...and having it broken. Opening your soul...and having door after door slammed in your face. For how can one truly understand another's grief/pain/sorrow/loss if we have never experienced it for ourselves? How can one know love if they've never had it? How can you truly value love if you've never lost it? From these lessons come the empathy that ultimately, hopefully, gives us the potential to feel true compassion. From these experiences comes the strength to stand above and look beyond the trials that come our way and find the trails that lead to something better.
There are myriad experiences that shape who we are...but it is the choices we make about the path through those experiences that shapes who we become. I am grateful for the loves AND the losses that have forged my life...they have given me the grace and grit to, hopefully, face anything.