Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Life Altering

Can you imagine everything you had dreamed about and hoped for all changing in a split second? And after that particular moment how your life will never be the same.

This week someone who I went to high school with has experienced something that has fundamentally changed all of us. Every person that is her friend on facebook has been given a different perspective.

She lost her child. She gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, at 19 weeks. She was days away from finding out the sex of her greatly anticipated, and very much wanted, second child. Then as suddenly as she discovered this precious baby’s existence, she was gone just as quickly.

I can’t begin to imagine the emotions that she and her husband are experiencing right now. I only had my baby for 9 weeks, it was hard enough then, but she had began to feel the little flutters that the baby had brought, and then to suddenly lose it all.

What amazed me the most was the people on face book, and their reactions. Of course they were all saddened, as most of them have children, and they too, couldn’t imagine the injustice of it all. I’m sure that they were very grateful that their children were being too loud, or hitting their brother, or making messes, instead of the alternative.

All of those people on facebook that I went to high school with surprised me. For several days, not a single person complained about anything. Not one. Instead they all listed the things that they were thankful for, like their kids, spouses, pets, and for their faith. Because no matter what they had experienced in their lives up until that point, it all paled in comparison to the plight that we were all witnessing. Nothing could be as horrible as losing a child. It’s something that no parent, regardless of whether or not the baby had been born yet, should every have to experience.

I understand that things happen, things that I have absolutely no control over and the outcomes will not always be pleasant. That often those moments, those life altering moments will be because of a choice that someone else will have made for me. Car wrecks happen, planes crash, heart attacks, strokes, miscarriages, old age. None of us are immune, and sometimes those choices can change our lives forever.

I can’t begin to fathom experiencing a pregnancy up to that point, and anxiously awaiting to find out whether that baby was a girl or a boy, and then finding yourself in the middle of a nightmare hoping that you wake up and that this isn’t really happening.

I remember when the phone rang the morning that my husband had his wreck. It was a little after 9 in the morning, and I was asleep, because I was working nights, and after I saw his name on the caller ID and answered, as long as I live, I don’t think that I will ever forget the way his voice sounded. Ever. Within seconds I knew that something was wrong, that wreck, changed both of our lives. Probably not mine as much as it did his, but every time I see a car pull up to a stop sign going faster than I would like, I hold my breath until they stop. I can’t imagine how my husband feels.

While that was nothing compared to what my facebook friends are experiencing, it profoundly affected my life. Just like this loss, has affected all of her facebook friends lives. We are all young, and we have all experienced loss, just not to that degree, and none of us are prepared. Not that you could ever be prepared for something like that.

So the question remains: How do you move forward? How do you get up day after day and know that your life and your family will never be the same again? You simply do. And you keep doing that, over and over again, because no matter how immense your grief life goes on. Car payments are still due and dinner still has to be cooked.

I’m amazed at how well she is holding up and grieving. She has a strength that I hope I never have to find in myself. She has even managed to find joy in her daughter, and in saying goodbye to the daughter that she lost. She has managed to give profound reminders to all of us on facebook that God has a plan. And that a 2nd child wasn’t in her plans for right now. She has found peace in a situation that would have most angry, that would have caused most people to question their faith and God.

Instead she is rejoicing.

So this week, when things have seemed to be going down-hill, I have tried to rejoice. It hasn’t been easy, but this week I am very thankful. I’m thankful that my husband lets me boss him around, I’m thankful that he is at home with me instead of out running around, I’m thankful that I have 3 dogs who drag out toys and have takeout food that I step on at 2am, I’m thankful that they bark and howl and make lots of noise when I come home, even if I only took the trash out, I’m thankful that I have two parents who love and support me no matter what goofy things I do, I’m thankful that I have grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends who love me too.

I’m rejoicing that God has a plan so wonderful that I can’t even begin to fathom its greatness. Sure there will be loss included in that plan, but without loss, life becomes meaningless. There is greatness in that too.

As for my friend and her loss, she is finding the joy, the beauty; in what precious time she had with her 2nd born. She is a wonderful example of faith and hope. I only hope that she realizes how many lives she has touched and changed with this experience, including my own. Maybe that was God’s plan for this beautiful baby girl after all.

~Even hundredfold grief is divisible by love. ~Terri Guillemets

~We acquire the strength we have overcome. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

~There are things that we don't want to happen but have to accept, things we don't want to know but have to learn, and people we can't live without but have to let go. ~Author Unknown

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