“It is a divine gift to find the light inside while in the midst of despair” Author unknown
I have always been intrigued by how some people’s lives just swim along beautifully without a struggle or strife. And others seem to have more than their fair share of trials and tribulations to deal with.
I have been blessed with finding a friend for life at a young age. We have been friends now for 45 years, and she has taught me many things, but the thing that stands out the most is Strength. She is the strongest women that I know. And I am lucky to call her my friend.
When we were young, I was the quieter one, she the more gregarious. I think now that I was quieter, because I had more to deal with when I was younger. I had more responsibility to bear, more things to worry about than she did at the time. Sometimes that makes you go inside, and look for the light to lead you on your journey.
Even though I moved away from her when I got married, we spoke at least weekly and still do. We would talk about everything and support each other through the things that we were dealing with. She has always been my strength when I needed it, and I hope that I have been the same for her.
Conversation would sometimes turn to someone who led a charmed life, and we would wonder how they got off the hook with a ‘broken nail’ being their biggest problem in life. When things were especially tough, we would laugh and wonder what we had done in previous lives to have to deal with our burdens.
When we started to have families, she was blessed with triplets. Life became very busy for her, and I watched in amazement as she took it all in stride. She was a wonderful mother, and somehow managed to have each of her four children feel special and loved. Our children’s lives become enmeshed with one another, and they fought and loved each other like siblings. My husband and I would go up to give them some time off from parenting, and leave exhausted and wondering how she managed this every day.
And just when things should have started to get a little easier for her, her son was diagnosed with a childhood cancer at the age of nine. This happened at a time, when her marriage was starting to un-ravel. I watched and worried for her and desperately hoped that I was of some support to her during this time. She didn’t even have time to grieve her marriage when it came to an end, as she was busy building her strength to help him fight. And a long fight it was, three long years of the worst treatments. She was with him every step of the way, and supporting all of her children through both of these huge life events.
She became quieter as she went inside herself to fight. And I understood this. I knew that she needed to go to that place inside where the worry and concern live. To retreat from the noise, and search for the light and strength that would carry her through.
When the options for treatment ended, and they got the news that there was nothing further to try I cried with her. It was Halloween, and true to form this brave young man decided that he was going out trick or treating regardless. I will never forget that phone call, and every Halloween since it comes to mind. But the thought of him dressing up, and enjoying his evening anyway also comes to mind. This is who he was. There was nothing that was ever going to stop this boy from living every moment of the life that he had.
She spent the next months, saying goodbye to her little boy in the best way she knew how. She honored his bucket list items to the best of her ability. He enjoyed every moment that he had left. He spent no time feeling sorry for him-self, but spent his time living, laughing, and enjoying. All the while, I know her heart was breaking, and I marveled at the strength that they both had.
This young man, created his own playlist of songs that he wanted played at his funeral during his last days. And then the inevitable day came, and we lost him. That too is a day that will stay in my memory forever. We watched as our children, got the playlist ready for his send-off. It drew them closer as they laughed at some of the songs that he chose – such as “I’m too sexy for my skin”. Every song on that playlist will remain in my heart forever, as I am sure it will for each one of us, and I laugh as I sit here writing this blog and “Tears of Heaven by Eric Clapton” plays on the radio. “You little imp, I think to myself”, as I stop to listen and feel embraced by his love. This was his gift to us, whenever I miss him, I inevitably hear one of his songs and cannot do anything but laugh and send him my love.
He watches over her of this I am certain. And if I know him, he brings her strength when she needs it as she did for him. But now I can’t help but wonder if he also wants for her to have nothing more than a “broken nail” to worry about. If I know him, this is exactly what he would want for her.
And I wonder if the reason that things just swim along for some people is because they expect them to. Nothing has ever happened to the contrary, and so they don’t expect it to. And so with his help I will try to turn our conversation to one of expecting good things to happen, and see if this is how it works after all?
Honoring her strength and looking forward to a broken nail