10/19/18- The Most Cherished Gift
I often feel like I’ve lived ten lifetimes. I used to think this set me apart, that I was different than anyone else, that it was somehow unfair. I used to be very very angry about it. This month marks a decade since my descent into the darkness, the hardest time and the ultimate eruption of the fury that had burned in me for years. Up to this point I tallied the disappointments, the pains, and the heartaches and held them like weapons. Over the next year, things would only get worse.
I lost my first child in January 2009. I remember it in almost a surreal fashion. I saw him on the ultrasound screen, so perfectly formed. But something was very very wrong. The heartbeat was barely present at less than 60 beats per minute. He was dying right in front of my eyes. In the midst of the overwhelming sadness, I remember so clearly the bursting of the flame of fury. It was the final gasoline on the fire. I became a monster flogging anyone and everyone with my personal pain. I truly believed I would never again see light in the world. It would be a long time until I did.
A decade later (yesterday), I sat with a dear friend going through a similar experience.
“Do you ever think about it now, Becca? I just can’t see that anything good can ever come from all of this.”
I knew there was nothing I could say in that moment to make it right for her. It has taken nearly 10 years to understand that watching my baby die on that screen was the greatest gift of my life. It was the catalyst for change, necessary for my own edification. It HAD to happen in order for me to become a person that my living children could celebrate. I had to walk through the abyss to experience the transformation. What I can see so clearly on the other side of the fire is that when you carry your own pain and suffering like a weapon, you use it on the people who care about you the most. When you carry your pain like a cherished gift, you reverently reveal it to people and expose your own humanity. It is, perhaps, the greatest mystery of one’s life. Why must we experience such heartbreak to ultimately comprehend a greater level of love? We MUST walk through the fire in order to shine brighter.
Sitting in your anger, sadness, and disappointment… staring it in the eyes and finding the gnarly beauty is bold and it is scary. It is also necessary. It may take a decade, or a lifetime, to recognize that beauty and to cherish that suffering as a precious gift. But if you can see it, even just a glimpse of it, you can alter the way you see the world. Ten years later, my life has finally completed that Hero’s Journey… at least for this story.