Perspective came slamming in two weeks ago when I heard that a friend’s young daughter had died. She was four years old. My friend’s grief was palpable and touched the face of everything that morning. Our hearts ached for her loss; it was impossible to find a single word that even scraped the surface of the hurt we felt for her, never mind attempting to imagine what she was actually feeling and going through because we atrophied at the thought of that kind of loss.
Even though her grief is not mine to experience or mine to share, it continues to leave a lasting mark in our home. We’re kinder to one another. Patience is not as thin. We’re grateful in ways we’d forgotten how to be when looking at the tiny collections of socks my daughter sheds throughout the house, or when surveying the mountain of crayons and drawings on her bedroom floor. We hug a little more, say thank you a little more.
Kids are not supposed to die. They just aren’t, and saying “it’s not fair” is itself unfair in how little of the magnitude of loss that sentence properly conveys. It’s been difficult to write here because everything seems stupidly trite compared to the chaos unfolding in a house that’s not ours. A low blood sugar? Dizzying but easily fixed. Frustrations with technology that’s not behaving as advertised? The reflex of rage is tempered by the realization that we have access. It’s a strange head space, to be forcibly removed from the outrage machine that often flexes its muscle in social media. I wish so much that it hadn’t been the death of a child that reminded me how people are supposed to treat one another.
In that respect, I’d give anything to feel sanctimonious rage again.
My apologies for not writing her much in the last week or so. Apologies for being self-righteous about self-righteousness. There are a lot of apologies I need to issue, and a lot of things I need to be more actively grateful and thankful for. I resolve to try harder.
Thank you, little owl, for leaving a legacy of love. I’ll do my best to follow in kind.
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