When our person dies, we tend to focus on death and grief in general, for a rather long time.
Of course we do. Why wouldn’t we? Grief and death came crashing into our world, and nothing was ever the same again. It’s safe to say that for most of us, the loss of our person changed everything – the big things and the small things and the in-between things, and even the sub-conscious things that we sometimes aren’t even aware of. The scope of our life becomes a timeline of “before and after” our person died and the life we knew was gone.
Then, combine that with other life events, time marching on, people aging over the years, people getting sick, graduations, weddings, other life-altering events, on and on and on – and suddenly, you look back, and almost 12 years has gone by since your loss. As we all know, the loss and the grief – they never go away. But they do shift. They do change and morph into something else. And the second your person dies, at least for me, you start to really know and feel how fragile and how fast life really is, and how limited our time here really is. I think someone who has lost their partner or spouse at an early age tends to spend more time thinking about things such as this than someone who has not yet faced that loss.
My parents are aging. My dads health is, at the very least, worrisome. My niece and nephew are getting older, and both reaching that age where it’s really hard to see them. They have a million sports and things going on in their lives and are not around to just hang out with their Auntie Kelley – and they would rather be with their friends anyway, so any time with them granted is precious. I am now at that age, 51, where people I knew from high school or college are starting to lose their parents to death, and where more and more people in my universe have either cancer or dementia or heart issues or various other health issues, and where you start to wonder things like “Who’s next? Am I next? Is someone close to me next?” I think at this age, and as we get older than 50 or so, it can be hard NOT to focus on death and grief, because its just all around us as we age and as people in our circles face these things .
So, with all that being said, today is a special day. Today is a day to focus on life.
This morning, at 5:18am, my cousin Laura’s son, Dominic, and his wife Alma, had a baby girl. Her name is Avani Gabriela. So italian! Last month, I went to Alma’s baby shower, and I had a great time. While there and after getting home, I kept thinking about how painful it was after Don’s sudden death, for me to go to baby showers and wedding showers. Don and I were in that stage of our marriage, 4 years in, where we were talking about having kids, starting our family, and how that might work. We talked about it quite often, in a casual way, and other times in a way where it felt more like a real thing we were actually going to do. He was so excited to be a dad, because his own dad had pretty much abandoned him and wasn’t really a part of his life. Don would have been an incredible dad, but he never got the chance. ANyway, baby showers were brutal, and it was usually a silent hurt that I just sort of went through alone.
Today, almost 12 years after my loss, I have a different view. Of course. Things shift, life happens, and when the pain isnt so raw anymore, the joy has room to enter in. Today, Im feeling like our family NEEDS a new baby in it’s sphere. Too many of us are getting older, too many getting sick, too many growing distant. We need a baby, we need this new life to remind us that its not always about death and its not always about things ending – many times it’s about things beginning and things starting and things growing and evolving. Maybe I need that reminder more than others in my family do – who knows. But either way, here she is. Little Avani, all wrapped up in a blanket and newly presented to the world.
What a beautiful, magical thing.