Thursday, September 22, 2005

Feeling selfish and small

We found out after dinner tonight that Amy, the girl who lives across the street with her husband and two year old daughter, died on Tuesday. She'd been battling colon cancer for a little over a year, but the cancer finally won the war and it took her just two days ago.

I knew this was coming. I found out 10 months ago that she was terminal. We never really talked to them all that much, but they had a chatty neighbour who filled us in on virtually everything going on in the neighbourhood and it was during one of those conversations that we found out the awful news.

I was carrying Thomas at the time and I thought, in horror, about what it would feel like to have to leave my precious child so young. I thought it sounded so cruel and hoped against hope that the chatty neighbour was somehow wrong and that Amy would survive and see her sweet little girl grow into a woman.

I don't know how she did it. I don't know how she looked into the face of her child knowing she was going to have to leave her - knowing she was dying.

Have I mentioned how much of a shit I feel like for my earlier rant? I feel like a self-absorbed pity freak. My reaction to the news of the baby behind us did throw me for an emotional loop this morning, but now I'm incredibly comforted by the fact that I'm surrounded by new life - and incredibly grateful for the cosmic flick in the head. It a hard road - some moments I still think the sorrow might swallow me whole - but there is life and hope if I open my eyes wide enough to see past my own self pity.

It still doesn't make any sense to me - why we lost Thomas and why Amy lost her life - but for some strange reason I feel an odd sense that the balance has tipped in favour of life just the same. Amy and Thomas are gone - both tragically and far too soon - but four new babies were born. Four new lives have just begun and are full of so much promise.

I'm not saying I won't want to slam my head onto the kitchen floor again before I myself die, but I am glad that tonight I feel some peace.

One birth, one death. One long, hard day.


Abby said...

I'm so sorry about your neighbor. Life just doesn't make sense sometimes. I'm glad you're feeling some peace about it all, though, and I hope that feeling stays with you.

If not, though, definitely grab a pillow the next time you feel like slamming your head on the kitchen floor, okay? H&S!

Catherine said...

In reading your post, I suddenly had this sense of peace that I haven't had in a while. I suppose it is partly because I realized life DOES go on. It might be sad and angry for a bit, but it's still there...ready and willing to carry you along on the journey. And those babies will have lives and die too...nobody can predict when. You hope they will have long and happy lives, but maybe they won't...and that's all a part of it, isn't it?

Thank you for writing. You help me every day with your insights.