Friday, September 10, 2010

Percipitous Life and Loss

Nearing September 11th always reminds me of how precipitous life can be. That date is an event and mental picture that is etched in our hearts and minds. Everyone can recall where they were when they heard the news. In 2001, my husband had left me on July 4th, (an ironic Independence Day) with our two children, who were ages 3 and 1 years old at the time. We didn’t hear from him until September 11th happened. We were scheduled for a morning doctor’s visit with the pediatrician and I got the kids ready and out the door without turning on the TV or talking with anyone. The nurses were surprised when I arrived and it was a somber atmosphere as they explained the plane hijackings and crashes that had taken place. I got home with the kids and was glued to the television when my husband called frantically, “Are you guys all right?” Thankful to know he was alive, but still bitter I replied, “Um yes, we are still in Ohio, not in New York. Where have you been?” It was so surreal and sad to hear the stories of loss over those following months. Our loss was also a struggle, and it is tough not to be angry with those who choose to hurt you. Four years later, through much attempted reconciliation, our divorce was final. The effects are still evident, although healing does come in time. Live forgive.

I sense a sort of shifting energy and have had some acute experiences, thoughts, and conversations about life, death, purpose, and God this week. A friend from high school surfaced on Facebook about a month ago and I was happy to reconnect with him. He asked if we could get together sometime. I said, “Sure! I’d love to,” thinking that time would come as we went about our busy lives. Then, I got the news Tuesday that he committed suicide. What? Why? He has an eight year old son, divorced, a nurse practitioner with a shared private practice. He seemed to have so much going for him. I remember his laugh and big smile, and the way that he would joke on the school bus. I now have a son who is the same age as I was when I met this friend. We were never super close, but we were friends and I was looking forward to seeing him again. Very sad.

There have been a few other similar life shockers recently and it is so confusing and heartbreaking, especially when someone chooses to take their own life or leave their family. Last year I walked another friend since sixth grade through her husband’s death by suicide. It was the saddest funeral I have ever been to, hearing his kids say their parting words. He had a teaching degree and had just achieved his law degree, but was struggling with chemical imbalance. It seems like brilliant minds sometimes have the hardest time feeling overwhelmed with all that the brain has to process in high stress situations. Outsiders react to the news in different ways. Some talk about it being selfish, especially when there are children involved. Some call it an overreaction and wrong decision. Some send out condolences and wish they would have just asked for help. There is help available, but no opportunity for hindsight.

This is why we need one another, to balance and share the journey, with a helping hand through the good and hard times, offering varied perspectives and insights in conversation. It pulls us out of ourselves when we seek to understand and also learn to enjoy and appreciate our differences. I sometimes wish I had a higher capacity for memory and details, so I enjoy conversation with complex minds. I am the artist type, a right brainer, and I often forget names unfortunately, (working to change this). It can be good when I am mad at someone because I wake up the next morning and forget to hold a grudge. Maybe that is a gift in disguise, the ability to let enough slide off as needed so that the dam doesn’t break. Life can be hard, but I hope and still choose to look for the good most of the time. So I just don’t get why anyone would give up all hope in this way. I am not in their shoes and I will not judge or speculate too much, but I do wonder. Some things we may never understand in this life.

Personally, I believe this time on earth is a sort of dress rehearsal and educational realm, so I am determined to stick it out and learn the lessons I will need for eternity. I believe that God walks with us through it all and longs for the days when we finally hand it over and let Him carry the load and teach us perseverance, which builds character. Surrender to life makes more sense to me than surrendering to death. Why do we fight that so hard and hold tight to our chains and reigns to the point where one would choose to take his/her own life? I hear ya, blab la bla. Don't go there. It’s real!

We have the opportunity to walk life out with those kindred souls who cross our path and share the journey. These gut checking moments have pushed me to reconnect with a few old friends that I’ve been meaning to call for a while. We took the time to reach out and catch up this week. There are others who are in the hospital, like Jacob who inspired my children’s book. He had to have surgery again this week. I made him a DVD of our shared family home videos. Those cards that often times get put off and piled up - got sent out this week. Even those I have never met, but I follow have also shared stories of loss this week that saddened me. Be well, wherever you are. My prayers go out to all of these who have touched our hearts and to the families of those who are grieving loss one day at a time. I am so sorry for your loss.

I think it's so important to let others know that you care and are thinking of them now. Anyway, it’s my blogger and I’ll write if I want to….And I will also post Heartsong in memory.