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Life and Death

May 2, 2016

A few month after Gift died we were invited to a concert by a great friend who is apart of an amazing band.  (If you have never heard of The Gertrudes, you are really missing out!!!)  One of the many band members had recently had a child, their first.  She stood there, at the front, talking about what being a new parent was like.  They talked about how not only was this new child now apart of their life, but so was death.  It was like it followed them everywhere, looming over them, following wherever they went.

Listening to her talk stung because death HAD visited us and took something away.  And it sucked.  But I totally understand what she was saying.  Contemplating your own mortality is a subject of philosophy.  Contemplating the mortality of your child is something that one can do, in the sense that of course, one day they will die.  But only after they have buried you.  No philosopher, no person wants to think about the chance that they may have to bury their child.

While my Love was deployed it weighed on me heavily that I was entirely responsible to ensure that our daughter, born with him away, needed to live long enough for her father to hold her.  It kept me up at night.  I would watch her, terrified that she would stop breathing.  It was the most stressful time, because I knew that I wasn’t responsible for life any more than I was able to stop death.

But, I digress.  What the band member said isn’t far from the truth.  We have this life, that has been given to us to care for.  We have this idea that we are in control of so much, but really it is just an illusion.  And we all want to believe that children dying is that Urban Myth:  it happens to other people, not me.  Not to someone I love.  That is not reality.  I don’t control life or death.  The only thing I control is my response.  Even then, often, I react instead of responding.

When I found Gift, I reacted.  It wasn’t pretty.  It was primal and scary.  In the hospital, I responded.

I am not dead.  Until I am I am going to live life fully.  Death doesn’t hold me back.  Death freed me to be more of who I am meant to be.

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