Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Making sense of it all

If you've followed either on Facebook or by occasional emails here and there, you know it's been an interesting year for us. I know that people usually wait until the end of the calendar year to reflect but too bad....the past few days I've been unable to do anything but reflect. This probably means, though, that you won't be getting a "yearly round up" letter in a couple of months. Too bad. Gotta get it out now.

This year has certainly been a year of ... trials? In April we got our house ready very quickly in an attempt to tackle the dismal real estate market. Since then we showed it for three months, were under contract for 5 weeks of those three months, and then took it off out of sheer madness of trying to keep the house pristine with 2 kids, a dog, 2 long-haired cats, and the rest of life. Also this summer my brother's herniated disc got worse and he was waiting for surgery after a crazy car accident that left him with 4 broken ribs. My aunt was diagnosed with colon cancer. Someone dear to me suffered a miscarriage. My mother in law broke her ankle THE DAY she was to fly to New Zealand. Two weeks after taking our house off the market the roof leaked and we discovered that squirrels and mice have made a home in our attic, along with the chipmunks in our storage room. My friend told me (jokingly) that she didn't want to be around me because apparently we were bad luck.

Thad and I laughed that we burned all our karma by having a successful home vaginal birth after cesarean with our son, Daschel, in February. It's so easy to leave things up to karma, isn't it? But still, oh, shining light of 2010, the babies being born has certainly been the biggest highlight of the entire year. Babies, babies, and more babies! Babies born every month...last December I knew of 6 babies born in the same week of each other, and every month after that has been just as baby-bonanza. This October alone I've known of eight babies being born. Eight! With 2 months left in the year we have many more to go...I keep checking those Facebook postings to hear about new arrivals. :)

Sweet, smiley, cuddly babies that are changing everyone's lives as we know it. I don't know anyone whose heart isn't melted by the coos and gurgles of a bouncing happy baby. Unfortunately, though, in comes the reality when this past week we got news that a friend's infant son has a brain tumor. *blank look* Are you kidding me? A brain tumor? In someone that can't even crawl?! In someone that hasn't even figured out what kind of ice cream he likes or what is her favorite color? Please, no more. If you're reading this and wondering if it's someone you know, it is absolutely not my place to spread their business so I'm sorry, unless they've let you know, then that's all I can say.

We were speechless. Tears, of course, have been plenty. I don't even know what to say. As I sat upstairs tonight nursing Dash to sleep I thought about how I felt when he was born- that hopeful, blissful feeling of a new baby and the possibilities that lay ahead of him. He's so young, so innocent, and yet how can this happen?

This December will be the 9-year anniversary of my father's passing. When he was diagnosed at the young age of 49 which was followed by treatment, recovery, and then illness again, I did some major soul searching to try and make sense of it all. I read When Bad Things Happen to Good People and while it offered some good perspective, I didn't finish it because it started to get a little too preachy for me. I mean, he's right, just because a "good" person goes outside in sub-zero weather without a jacket on doesn't mean he will escape getting sick. I get his argument that good people are not exempt from the laws of nature. But still. That answer doesn't give me peace when bad things continue to happen to people that just don't deserve it. I read all kinds of literature on suffering and grieving, all from different religions to see if I could make sense of it and I still couldn't find answers that put my heart at ease.

It's really, really hard not to take what's happening and turn it back to us. How WE feel by this. How WE make sense of it. Unfortunately, maybe that's where I am mentally because I don't know what else to do. I mean, what can we do? I can't cure cancer. I can't make the pain go away. I think most people turn the emotion back on themselves out of feeling utterly powerless otherwise.

How is it fair? How is it fair that a parent has to decide how their child will live their final days if that's the case? Or their days in general, for that matter. Is it fair to put a baby through treatments? What about their older child? How do you explain this to them?

Thinking of all this makes me physically sick. My answer? Seems flimsy and naive, but my answer is to have faith. No, not faith. Hope. Hope that things can get better. Hope that life can BE better. And I mean it. I mean it with every fiber of my being, deep into the deepest parts of my soul, I hope. Maybe its the eternal optimist in me but if I can't hope then I might as well not get out of bed in the morning. If you take away my hope, well, I just might shrivel up and die. So let me be. Let me live in my hopeful world where my glass is half full and peace can be found. Until then, I will keep this family in my thoughts and hopes and hope that their dear little one will be okay.

Lord save us all from... a hope tree that has lost the faculty of putting out blossoms. ~Mark Twain

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